Post locakdown – What’s the future for retail?

Tracey Pollard

With the opening on non essential retail in a few days, we will see a raft of new store openings, many of which have been in the pipe-line long before COVID 19. One of the first new openings on our list to visit, will be Browns Brook Street, an 8,000 sq. ft. example of what the future of shopping might look like. Combining Farfetchs technology and Browns heritage, the store is expected to set a new bench mark for retail, seeking to inspire, educate and entertain consumers, whilst layering technology and a high level of personal service along the way.

The store features a “focus room” highlighting exclusive collections, fragrance, jewellery, watches, men’s and women’s fashion, a sustainable restaurant called Native, with a beautiful courtyard garden and the upper floor hosts an immersive room featuring exhibitions and 3 VIP appointment rooms for make-up and tattoo artists.

It’s often said that to go forward, you must look back and we think there is much inspiration for modern retailing from reviewing the hay day of the traditional department store. High level of personal service and strong relationships with customers and brands are not new, and nor is the element of inspiration, theatre and creativity, just look back to 1906 to see what Harry Gordon Selfridge did when he arrived from Chicago. Of course, a new level of technology is required for the modern world and we will watch intently to see how retail brands navigate this new combination going forward.


Can cinemas breathe life into the leisure investment market?

Andrew McGregor

Don’t just listen to me, but it seems the streaming vs movie “battle” has found its equilibrium. Paramount Pictures CEO Jim Gianopulos and Disney CEO Bob Chapek have both recently stated that you can’t have one without the other. Big screen drives big franchises, which in turn drives streaming features…

Indian street food operator Mowgli to open in Brewery Quarter, Cheltenham

Victoria Broadhead

Given the past 12 months it has been fantastic to see operators like Mowgli continue to expand nationally, including in Brewery Quarter, Cheltenham. The Indian street food operator will be transforming the ex-Babel site and is due to open late Summer. Mowgli is a unique offer for Cheltenham and will…

Restaurants and Leisure – building anew

Rupert Bentley-Smith

Worst-case scenarios don’t come much more legitimate for restaurant and leisure businesses than repeated forced closure, for indefinite periods of time, with the outlook changing week to week leaving very little scope for any strategic planning on how to reopen. Locked down and shut down, and without any clarity of what the trading environment will look like on the other side. It is impossible not to have sympathy for these operators, when for many the tap of trade has been totally turned off.

So no one can claim that the past 12 months have been a good period for restaurants and leisure operators. It’s been an unquestionably brutal period in their history; totally unforeseeable and through no fault of their own. But what was also unforeseeable is the way in which many businesses have reacted, and this gives much to admire. It has been incredibly heartening to see the various ways in which they have adapted, perhaps in order to survive initially, but also in ways that will make them best placed to capitalise during more fruitful times ahead, and more durable if ever both arms are tied behind their backs again.

It was energising to see how good operators returned to trading levels of 75% in the periods between lockdowns, trading figures and customer numbers restricted only by social distancing, rather than any sign of diminished consumer demand. Operations at capacity both in terms of the space they could operate with and the hours that were afforded to them. Any space available was traded in a response to the restrictions that were put in place, and we have seen since a number of permanent requirements for significantly larger units, also at a time when many Landlords focussing on how to repurpose some of their larger spaces.

In the time they were closed they had evidently worked incredibly hard to develop additional elements to their business, which in some cases had never previously been a consideration; take-away, delivery, sophisticated meal boxes delivered nationwide, and retail enabling people to get restaurant quality at home. Additional income streams that are doing greater things than merely stopping businesses having to close for good.

We’ve heard stories of dark kitchens trading at numbers as strong as good high street restaurants. Operators receiving data from online sales clearly demonstrating huge popularity in locations that the owners had never previously contemplated. Valuable information that removes so much of the uncertainty when looking to expand and brings new towns and cities into focus.

We have seen some businesses make adaptations to create environments that are as conducive to working as they are to socialising, as they look more intently at neighbourhood locations where they feel they can capitalise on the growth of people working from home or nearer to home, as a trend in the future.

In the short term there’s definitely been an emphasis on requirements for fitted, or partially fitted spaces, seeking to keep initial investment as low as possible. Clearly raising capital for expensive fit outs is currently a huge challenge, and this is likely to remain until confidence is restored and we are free of the tougher consequences and restrictions of Covid 19.

However, a more positive impact we could see over time is the view emerge that restaurants and leisure businesses are in fact a very good places to invest. Investors looking at this sector could feasibly form the opinion that it is now actually a stronger and safer bet than they’d previously considered. These businesses have faced the nadir of their existence and been forced to close through no operational fault of their own. But they have demonstrated incredible resilience along with the ability to adapt, and ultimately emerged stronger and better versions of themselves; so surely there’s an argument that the sector is a better place to invest than it ever has been. Whilst it is impossible to answer questions linked to the likelihood of an event such as this repeating in the future, we do now know that it forces the best operators to only get better.

The reactive short-term trends and long-term adaptations will continue to emerge and become clear, as we continue to emerge from what we hope to be the final lockdown. Businesses have faced astonishing challenges, which could not have been foreseen. But what we can now foresee is that we will be eating in better restaurants, getting better quality and more varied food delivered, and cooking with far greater sophistication at home; all thanks to the creativity and determination of a lot of inspirational and pioneering businesses, during their worst-case scenario.



Diversity of Instructions

Emily Dumbell

One of the key strengths of Bruce Gillingham Pollard, is our range of clients and the diversity of the projects we work on. These instructions stretch from standalone shops and restaurant units, to large development projects nationwide. We work on established shopping centres, as well as successful Estates and our…

What a year!

Tracey Pollard

We just wanted to thank our amazing team, clients, the retailers and restaurateurs we work with every day for their continued support and trust. The BGP team has demonstrated determination and resilience, and our strong sense of team work has been more apparent than ever.  Whilst we have all experienced…

Gordon Ramsay Street Burger now open at One New Change

Tracey Pollard

For great food at exceptional value, head to Street Burger, St Paul’s.

Joining Bread Street Kitchen, this is the second venture by Gordon Ramsay at One New Change and offers a signature burger, seasoned fries and unlimited soft drinks for £15.

Tracey Pollard, who acted for Land Sec said “ we felt it was important to secure a high quality offer, yet we were keen to secure a tenant who understood the dynamics of the City market. Street Burger offers such exceptional value for money and they appeal to such a wide market, we thought they fitted the criteria perfectly”.

Bruce Gillingham Pollard advise on Chichester acquisition

Jack Barratt

Bruce Gillingham Pollard are delighted to have advised an overseas client on the recent acquisition of Lloyds on East Street, Chichester. The property is let to Lloyds Bank Plc for a further six years. This acquisition highlights our clients’ appetite for countercyclical opportunities that offer an attractive yield, are of…

Customer Experience, why is it important?

Jamie Orme

We’ve all walked into a shop or restaurant and been confronted by an over enthusiastic member of staff who makes you want to turn around and head straight back towards the door.

It’s a typically English response when trying to enjoy one of the nation’s favourite past-times, no small talk and no time for overzealous shop assistants – we just want to be left alone and shop.

The flip side is when you want or need some help or assistance then a member of staff is often nowhere to be seen or actively trying to avoid any communication.

This is in my opinion, one of the biggest issues facing the retail and leisure industry at the present time, customer experience – it can easily lead to increased sales or quickly result in the customer going elsewhere – a fine balancing act is required, which is why I feel it’s such an important topic, and one which often is overlooked.

Businesses often focus on product or brand or any other element within their control, but for me it’s how the staff can engage with the customer that often sets them apart from the competition.

This is always a key factor that I try to explain to some of my retailer clients, and one example I always use is from a store in Notting Hill.

This particular store is/was one of Notting Hill’s early fashion occupiers, and quickly became a mainstay along Westbourne Grove, particularly with the locals. Something which is hugely important in all ‘high street locations but particularly in a ‘village’ style community like Notting Hill.

The manageress of this particular business, I would say, was probably solely responsible for at least 40% of all business through that particular store, and probably acted as a brand ambassador, long before that was even a thing. She became an influential member of the community, even though she wasn’t necessarily a resident.

It was phenomenal, she knew all her regular customers, names, ages, sizes, styles, favourite colours, probably even children’s names and where they were at school.

Time and time again you would be in the store, and hear her calling a customer saying, we’ve just had a new collection arrive, which I think you’d love – I’ve put a few pieces behind the till with your name on for you to try next time you’re in.

She would greet them with a personal hello and make a point of saying goodbye if she’s been with another customer – you always knew she was in control of everyone in the store – which in turn always improved the other team members around her.

It sounds simple, yet the difference this made to the experience for the customer was incredible and tangible, they felt valued above all others, which time and time again inevitably lead to an increase in sales and positive marketing and PR via the goodwill word of mouth from the customer base.

The resulting factor was the business benefited greatly from her, and eventually as a result of store performance, she was re-positioned, in time, to all of their most prominent stores, to implement her style and techniques on the other retail teams within the business.

Why is this important – because in the current climate all high street businesses are battling against increased amounts of competition, whether it be from another retailer or business, online, economic conditions  and now a worldwide pandemic.

It’s become trench warfare along the high street, and businesses need to provide the customer with a point of different to all their competition, for me this starts with the customer service of the staff. What service can they provide above and beyond what can be offered elsewhere – why choose to make the effort of going to a high street store vs a few clicks on you laptop.

If we reflect on our own personal favourite restaurants, coffee shops or retail stores, somewhere we visit frequently, stop and consider what sets them apart from the competition – almost every time for me it’s having a personal connection and experience, which the staff provide through their actions.


So, is this the vision of future shopping habits?

Andrew McGregor

So, is this the vision of future shopping habits? What might have been a 5/10 year vision 12 months ago, COVID 19 has accelerated the move to a more “omni-channel” experience. The Issa Brothers and TDR’s acquisition of ASDA came with this idea – no longer a behemoth store with…

Explore the UK and support our homegrown businesses

Victoria Broadhead

We might not be able to travel too far at the moment but what a great opportunity to visit all the places we don’t get to explore nearer home.

The UK tourist economy accounts for £127 Billion and employs three million people in the UK, which is almost one in ten people. This accounts for 9 per cent of the country’s GDP, so it makes sense that we “The Great British Public” support them fully by exploiting the benefits of our amazing cities, dales and coastline.

I was therefore only too happy to do my bit for the economy and I spent the weekend in Oxford at the Old Bank Hotel. It was a great base for a mini break, located in the centre of this historic city. Independently owned, the 5 star hotel, has 43 elegant and contemporary designed bedrooms and achieves a further point of difference with its collection of eclectic modern art by some of the country’s best young talent. The restaurant “Quod”  is part of the hotel and was superb and with a great onyx bar, we really didn’t need to go far on Friday night.

We spent the day shopping till we dropped on Saturday, a quick trip to Bicester Village and Westgate, both of which were busy, it was refreshing to see lots of domestic shoppers out and spending money.

Whilst there are predictions that it might take international tourism a year or two to return to pre-crisis levels, local tourism will be more important than ever in supporting our hospitality industries. So with half term approaching for many, let’s think about supporting our hotels, bars and restaurants, gardens, zoo and safari parks. There are some great places to discover all on our doorstep.”


BGP are seeking an intern to join us for 6 weeks from 1st September 2020 to work within our leasing team. We are interested to hear from candidates from any background and property experience is not necessary. Key attributes required: * Independent thought * Strong communication skills * Tenacity *…

Bruce Gillingham Pollard promotions and new appointments

by Woody Bruce

Bruce Gillingham Pollard are delighted to announce the promotion of Dominic Tixerant to Associate Director and the appointment of Nick Goodman as Consultant. Dominic joined in 2016 as part of the annual graduate intake, passed his APC in 2019 and subsequently has risen to become a key member of the…

Which came first the shopper or the shop?

Tracey Pollard

Whilst our neighbourhood and national sites seem to be buzzing and operator demand growing, our central London streets remain quiet. Without office workers and tourists, parts of Central London remain half open. This creates the latest decision facing operators; to open or not ? As they ask themselves is there enough footfall…

BGP advise London Metric on £62million acquisition of 5 Waitrose stores

Andrew McGregor

Bruce Gillingham Pollard have advised London Metric PLC on the acquisition of 5 food stores, let to Waitrose, for £62 million. All 5 stores are let on new 20 year leases. The stores range in size from 27,000 sq ft to 43,000 sq ft, located in Keynsham, Malmesbury, Paddock Wood (Kent), Towcester and Yateley.

Long income assets have become increasingly sought after, especially in those businesses which have proved resilient during the COVID 19 pandemic. Grocery shopping has been one of those star performers. Even as the level of online grocery shopping has increased, these stores should act as fulfilment centres for both Waitrose and John Lewis in the wider region.

Otium Leisure acquire Robin Leisure Park in Wigan

The UK's first leisure park investment sale of 2020

by Rosie Higgins

Advised by our investment team, Otium Real Estate has purchased Robin Leisure Park in Wigan from a fund managed by CBRE Global Investors. The purchase was made at a price of £12.48m reflecting a yield of 8.3% off a net rental income of £1.107m per annum. The property extends to…

GDVs and the hidden values of placemaking with nightlife

Why developers should be smart in their quest for returns

Looking at traditional methods of development appraisal, the viability of a scheme is determined by financial models that evaluate schemes based on quantifiable information. With the drive in brownfield regeneration, cities are seeing unprecedented change with profits for residential developers are soaring. Many developers would acknowledge that the relationship between…

Design Vintage to open in Tunsgate Quarter

by Rosie Higgins

Design Vintage was founded in 2012 by interior designer, Lisa Brass who established the brand after having difficulty sourcing vintage and Scandinavian products for her clients. Originally from Brighton the brand now trades from a permanent store in Chichester and has had a number of pop-up stores in London. The…

The increasing importance of children on the High Street

It is becoming more and more important to consider uses which cater to children as part of High Street and development leasing.
by Emily Dumbell

Somewhat in contrast to those decrying the ‘demise of the High Street’, it is great to see recently good positivity and leasing activity generated by concepts which are focussed on children and families. In addition to traditional toy and clothes retailers, we are also seeing concepts centred on kids’ entertainment or teaching, including nurseries, creches, tuition centres and even families’ members clubs. We have recently seen a flurry in requirements ranging in size from 1,500 sq ft up to 12,000 sq ft.

In our internet-era, curating reasons to visit a High Street or new development is vital, whether it is for activities, services or meeting up. By visiting and participating in social activities within a location, people interact and build communities and crucially, drive footfall to the neighbouring restaurants and retailers throughout the day and week.

A nursery or creche means morning and afternoon / evening footfall. Class based activities generate footfall throughout the day, from parent and baby classes to coding or English tuition after school.

At the weekend, parents are forever seeking places to escape the house and occupy children and until now, traditional, primary coloured soft play centres have held the monopoly for this, despite the fact that typically, parents do not enjoy their time spent there! Cue a collective sigh of relief from parents for the new wave of entertainment spaces, such as Kidz#1 at Dickens Yard, Ealing, which are the contemporary equivalent with a fresh design and areas designated and designed for parents too.

Brands such as Cupcake and Slice (Parsons Green) provide a community hub for parents and children. Through membership, parents can access creche facilities, classes, soft play but they can also head upstairs to the sister brand Slice for fitness classes whilst their children are safely cared for. This provides both a safe sanctuary for parents to relax with support around them, but also a place to meet new friends.

N Family Club and Kido are two nursery and creche brands also capitalising on the growing recognition by Landlords cottoning on to the value that these uses can bring as anchors to their Estate or developments. Well established occupiers like Kumon, Explore Learning and Code Ninjas are focussed on extra-curricular classes and generate regular footfall as classes are booked in advance.

By placing these sorts of operators into their locations, there is a real hope from the Landlord that retailers, restaurants and leisure activities can benefit from an overspill and additional driver to the area and certainly it is part of a pattern of more holistic letting approaches that our clients are taking in affluent ‘Village’ locations. For ‘place’ to thrive, especially in a new destination, the needs of the whole catchment need to be considered, even those of the very young!

Endo at the Rotunda is awarded a Michelin Star

Endo at the Rotunda is a 16-seat restaurant located at the top of the landmark Television Centre, taking its name from the location and the internationally reknown Kazutoshi.

by Rosie Higgins

We were very pleased to see an emotional Endo Kazutoshi collect his first (of many, we suspect) Michelin star for Endo at the Rotunda at Television Centre at White City. Millie Edwards in our leasing team acted for the landlord of Television Centre, Stanhope & Mitsui on the letting which…

BGP buy One Tower Bridge for Redevco

We acted on behalf of Redevco who paid £70m for the benefit of the virtual freehold

by Rosie Higgins

The acquired asset comprises 83,000 sq ft of retail, restaurant and cultural space across 13 units with tenants including The Ivy, Vapiano, Sainsburys and The Bridge Theatre. The scheme was developed by vendors Berkeley Group and occupies a prime location on the south bank of the Thames with views of…

Karavan, Budapest

Simple food court concept with international cuisine in the Hungarian capital

by Harry Atcherley-Symes

I had a great first trip to Budapest in Hungary this summer and the city really surpassed my expectations. Whilst renown as a historical city and stunning old architecture to boot, the city also has its fair share of fun, vibrant youth culture and nowhere better illustrates this than outdoor…

1 2 3 4