How will stores adapt and change to combat the challenges of the High Street?

Jamie Orme

It’s been a view of mine, for many years, that high street stores and in particular, retail stores, are varying degrees of the same, yes, we occasionally see a brand try to be different and offer something alternative to the customer, but in the main, the environment is all focused on product and selling.

Sales and profit have been the pillars of the industry for many, many years.

The past 12 months have arguably been the most challenging retail environment, the high street has ever faced, with huge numbers of stores either closed, or set to close and this is across all sectors, fashion, lifestyle, leisure, food, health & beauty. No sector has been immune to the challenges we face and we’re still faced with.

Yes, some food stores have traded well, possibly even thrived, over the past year but that has been in large part due to the fact that they’ve been the only option available, when the supermarkets have to compete again with restaurants and leisure operators, they will feel the competition and it will have an affect on their performance.

I work closely with a number of retailers, across a number of sectors, advising them on all elements of their property portfolios, from initial strategy to acquisitions and beyond.

One of my major thoughts over the past 12 months, is how can the brands I represent, improve their customer experience and enhance the brand performance.

Fred Perry, one of the most iconic and globally recognised brands, have been visionary with their views here, they have worked incredibly hard, to try and fully understand, what is it that their customers wants from the store experience, how can the physical presence of a store work beyond that of the online business, which is extremely successful.

They have looked hard at brand engagement across their portfolio of stores, have carried out works to evolve their properties to become not only places to retail from, but for people to go and enjoy spending time in, regardless of whether they are shoppers or not.

They want people to understand and engage fully with the Fred Perry brand and most importantly their culture, which has always been a corner stone of the business.

The creation of the ‘Fred Perry museum of culture and youth’ showcases this view point perfectly. They have removed existing sales space from their Camden store, and have invested in showcasing the heritage of the brand, telling the story and history of where it’s been and how it’s got to where it is, which is not only fascinating but something which creates a sense of understanding and ultimately loyalty from the customer, because they in turn become invested into the culture and brand as a result.

Whilst Fred Perry are not alone in experimenting with new ways to engage the customer, I do feel that their strategy will be hugely successful for them and will create a further legacy which they will continue to enjoy and benefit from.

It’s going to be fascinating how other brands look at evolving over the next 12 months and beyond, because simply selling product is no longer enough.

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…

Rosa’s Thai Cafe to make Midlands debut alongside Vinoteca and Dishoom

Victoria Broadhead

Rosa’s Thai Cafe will open its first Midlands restaurant at Paradise Birmingham later this year. The London-based company will launch its latest venue at Two Chamberlain Square. The 80-seat restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Rosa’s Thai Cafe chief executive Gavin Adair said: “The offer at Paradise was too good an opportunity to miss and we are extremely happy with the setting of our new restaurant overlooking Centenary Way. We can’t wait to welcome Brummies into our new space later this year and look forward to showing them our authentic, award-winning Thai food.” Rosa’s Thai Cafe becomes the third new restaurant to commit to Paradise. Indian-Irani cafe Dishoom opened on the ground floor of One Chamberlain Square last spring, while Mediterranean wine bar and restaurant concept Vinoteca is also taking space at Two Chamberlain Square. Rob Groves, regional director of Argent, development managers for Paradise, said: “We’re confident Rosa’s Thai Cafe will be a sure-fire hit. With Rosa’s joining the previously announced Dishoom and Vinoteca, we are very proud Paradise is now bringing a broad range of great, new restaurants to the city.”

For further information please contact Victoria Broadhead

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 “…

Welcoming London florist McQueen’s to North Audley Street

Lucy Cope

It is great to welcome internationally renowned London florist McQueen’s, a global name in luxury floral design to North Audley Street just in time for Christmas. Their flagship store situated in the heart of the West End will be the UK’s largest floral emporium. The 2,500 sq ft store will…

Coqbull opened at Piccadilly Lights

Lucy Cope

Irish chicken and burger restaurant Coqbull, has made a permanent debut in London opening their flagship restaurant on 2nd December just off Piccadilly Circus in the former Jamie’s Italian. This will be the brands flagship restaurant with existing sites in Limerick, Cork and Castletroy.

For further information please contact Lucy Cope.

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…

BGP secures artisan bakery Gails for debut in Guildford at The Tunsgate Quarter

Victoria Broadhead

Head of our national team, Victoria Broadhead is delighted to announce that popular artisan bakery chain, GAIL’s, opened in Tunsgate Quarter, Guildford on October 29th 2020. Set up in 2005 by Tom Molnar and Ran Avidan, GAIL’s opened its first bakery in Hampstead with the aim of making world class…

The Permanent Benefits of Pop-Ups

Tracey Pollard

There is a great deal of  talk in our industry about pop-ups as it’s essential at this time of disruption to help landlords activate voids through securing short-term occupiers.

We believe the secret to the success of a pop-up is targeting brands which fit within an existing mix and complement their surroundings. As such, they must support rather than impair the trading of the existing long-term businesses in the immediate area – a factor which is sometimes overlooked in the pop-up process.

While pop-ups may have been traditionally thought of as just void stop-gaps or a response to seasonal trading opportunities, we have always given them the same care and attention as longer-term lettings. This is because we believe they can contribute far more than just mitigating the financial impact of voids. They are, in effect, an incubator for new brands and concepts while also bringing new animation (and footfall) to a location whilst freshening the overall mix.

We take this area of business so seriously that we have appointed a Head of Pop-Ups, Lucy McGowan-Scanlon, who comes from a retailer background and has extensive experience of sourcing concessions and pop-ups for a major department store. Her wide pool of contacts encompasses new emerging  e-commerce brands and a vibrant mix of emerging food & beverage operators who are keen to raise awareness of their offers through making the transition to physical outlets.

Instead of just taking the first credible pop-up offer that we get, we target bespoke sectors using Lucy’s contacts and our database of 800-plus “break-through brands”. Our capability in this area also includes a network of suppliers partners who can help with store staff recruitment; shop fittings and social media exposure. It’s a seamless process for all and lets the new occupier focus on trading and enhancing the location through the generation of marketing exposure. This more considered approach to pop-ups can bring permanent benefits.

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…

New Store Openings at Canary Wharf

Rupert Bentley-Smith

Samsung store, NipNip bike repairs and Bar Bolivar by MJMK, all opening at Canary Wharf. Tech, cycling and drinking, all things we improved at during lockdown.

Harry Cody-Owen joins BGP as Associate Director in the National Team

By Victoria Broadhead

Bruce Gillingham Pollard are pleased to announce the appointment of Harry Cody-Owen as Associate Director.

Harry has specialised in F&B and Leisure for 6 years and joins from Lunson Mitchenall where he predominantly acted on behalf of Institutional Landlords. Having advised on Lakeside, Festival Place Basingstoke, Chapelfield Norwich, Eldon Square Newcastle and Elephant and Castle, Harry has a strong understanding of this fast moving market. This knowledge is further enhanced by his work with occupier in securing new sites and he brings retained clients Providence Bay, Jungle Mania and The BOK Shop.

Harry will join the National team focusing on the letting of the Hammerson F&B and leisure portfolio, across 6 of Hammerson’s UK sites, including, The Oracle Reading, Cabot Circus Bristol, Highcross Leicester, West Quay Southampton, Victoria Leeds and The Bullring/ Grand Central Birmingham.

Harry comments “We are currently undergoing a correction in the retail market, as shopping habits change and physical retail declines. We need to consider new ways to deliver exciting destinations and I believe my experience in the F&B and the leisure market will help greatly, as this evolving sectors continues to develop, as consumer priorities “the experience.”

Victoria Broadhead, Head of Bruce Gillingham Pollards National team remarks “We are really excited to have Harry joining the team at BGP, his experience and passion echoes BGPs ethos”.

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…

Kate Spade Launches at Canary Wharf

Tracey Pollard

Following the gradual re-opening of non essential retailers it was great to see the likes of Kiel’s, Sandro, Bimba & Lola and Maje open in Jubilee Place, Canary Wharf. They have now been joined by Kate Spade, who launched their new store this week with a fantastic collection of bags,…

The Rise of Community Spirit and how Independent Retailers have reacted…

Lucy Cope

“A renewed sense of community is welcomed news for independent businesses, with a growing desire to support local stores in life after lockdown.” (Source: Food Manufacture Online)

The world as we know it has come to a halt and each and every one of us has been forced to adapt to a new way of living following the novel Coronavirus outbreak. Overnight, our homes transformed into an office, school, playground, restaurant, bar and gym – all under one roof. Now with more time on our hands and the once frenetic pace of life behind us, a renewed sense of community spirit has arisen from the ashes.

With news of lock down being relaxed, ‘essential’ and ‘non-essential’ businesses are looking at how they must adapt to the new consumer behaviours and protocols born from the pandemic. In a bid to avoid lengthy supermarket queues and delays from over worked couriers during lock down, a large number of consumers have turned towards smaller, independent retailers on their local high street to purchase their every-day essentials.

In recent years, consumers have recognised the health and environmental benefits of purchasing locally sourced produce,  with a growing trend towards sustainable and seasonal food production. The onset of the pandemic has reinforced this desire to ‘live well’; subsequently bolstering the movement towards supporting local ‘essential’ retailers, such as high-street butchers, bakers and grocers who have offered their fresh products and bespoke services throughout the crisis.

A recent survey from Barclaycard supports the above, with statistics showing an increase of 37.5% in greengrocer and bakery sales in April 2020, with more than half of Britons stating the pandemic as the reason for the upsurge.

Convenience is King

With companies now opting for flexible remote working, the office – as we know it – is unlikely to return anytime soon. The busy shopping hubs once utilised on our lunch break will continue to be replaced with the local amenities of our neighbourhood. Cycling and walking have also become the preferred modes of transport for most, reinforcing convenience as a new key component in purchasing behaviour.

The rising popularity of the hyperlocal social media network ‘Nextdoor’ is another example of the increased desire to connect with one’s local community. The community network and hub for neighbourly services connects households by postcode and currently serves 250 neighbourhoods in the UK. Although the app has existed for a number of years there has been an 80% surge in daily members during February and March this year.

A further example of community support is Grosvenor’s Mayfair and Belgravia Community Fund which was set up to provide support to community projects, while encapsulating Grosvenor’s vision to ensure their communities are active, inclusive and integrated. From guitar lessons held in Mercato Metropolitano to the creation of an urban wood in Mayfair, these community projects promote health and wellbeing, encourage community cohesion and togetherness which is imperative during these challenging times.

During lock down, ‘essential’ independent retailers and restauranteurs have quickly launched home delivery services, embraced social media to generate new customers and restructured their business model to survive the pandemic. A few examples of how businesses have risen to the challenge can be found below:

Wild by Tart, a fully immersive neighbourhood restaurant space in Eccleston Yards, quickly tailored their offering in response to the pandemic by delivering food hampers with recipe cards, allowing local customers to create their dishes from home.

The Thai Grocer, a family run restaurant in Earlsfield, and both Story Coffee and the Eclectic Collection, independent coffee shops in Earlsfield and Clapham have transformed their stores into a hybrid-takeaway-come-grocery-store providing essential deli items to their local communities.

The Notting Hill Fish Shop has converted into a superstore, collaborating with other independent brands such as Neal’s Yard Dairy and Natoora to offer locals a one stop destination for essential items – all under the same roof. To meet the surge in demand, they have taken on furloughed chefs as volunteers; helping them stay connected to the industry they love.

As restrictions lift and more retailers reopen, it will be interesting to see how consumer behaviour continues to develop. Will the loyalty these businesses have amassed translate into longer term rewards in the aftermath of Covid-19? We think so.

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…

Club Mexicana Taqueria to open at Kingly Court

The brand brings their popular vegan tacos to Soho

by Rosie Higgins

There is a lot to be excited about for 2020, not least the announcement before Christmas that Club Mexicana Taqueria have taken a permanent restaurant in Carnaby’s Kingly Court. Club Mexicana’s mouthwatering tacos are both innovative and moreish and, completely unbelievably, totally vegan. They are a superb example of the…

10 questions landlords should be asking about sustainability

by Tracey Pollard

A recent study by Retail Week revealed that 62% of consumers say it is important to shop with brands with sustainable credentials. With younger generations particularly, and rightfully, gripped by the ‘climate crisis’, this proportion is only set to increase. Accordingly, if landlords wish to ensure their retail destinations remain relevant to consumers, attention to sustainability is integral to future-proofing.

In simple terms, a brand with strong sustainability credibility is likely to become the strong covenant of the future. However, whilst brands are very good at telling us the stories they want you to hear, making tokenistic efforts at reducing packaging for example; establishing how sustainable they genuinely are remains a challenge. So, what questions can landlords be asking when meeting prospective occupiers?

  1. Where is production?
    If goods are imported, do they have certificates on fair-trade practice? Whether ensuring fair wages are paid, or ingredients are purchased ethically from third party sources, this standard encompasses a range of sustainability efforts.
  2. How are products packaged?
    Retailers should have recyclable, biodegradable packaging or, better still, none at all. Lush are at the forefront of this: nearly half their products can be taken home with no packaging. They save 6m plastic bottles globally just through selling shampoo in bars.
  3. How transparent is the supply chain?
    How strong are their relationships with suppliers, particularly if they source product overseas? Can they demonstrate their suppliers uphold the same standards they purport to?
  4. What about the shop fit?
    There are many innovations in sustainable shop fit. The Body Shop’s new fit out includes worktop surfaces made from EKOply – a recycled plastic plywood alternative and Fig & Squash at New Street Square uses recycled Corten floor and a recycled plastic installation ceiling to achieve a 95% sustainably sourced fit out. Also ask, how often they plan to refurbishment and what will happen to the surplus fit out? Traditional redecoration covenants may need to be reconsidered.
  5. What materials are used in clothes production?
    Are the materials used organic, biodegradable, virgin or ethical? Do they use processing chemicals, bleaches, or dyes? Designer brand Stella McCartney has progressively limited materials which contravene their ethical standards including feathers, furs and PVC and instead are using organic cottons, biodegradable shoe soles and recycled polyester.
  6. What happens to unsold product?
    Excessive consumption in the UK led to 300,000 tonnes of waste clothing dumped in landfill last year. Brands like M&S, John Lewis and H&M are great at taking back old clothes but also encouraging repair and reuse. Food waste can be donated to schemes such as ‘FareShare’ or distributed through apps like ‘Too Good To Go’.
  7. What are their cosmetics made from?
    Consumers are increasingly aware of environmental issues from pesticides and agricultural practices. Look for certifications of organic products like Cosmos or Natrue. Ask about their use of palm oil which is contributing to mass deforestation of tropical rainforest and against which there is a growing consumer backlash. Brands sourcing palm oil ethically and sustainably are given the RSPO certification.
  8. How do they refrigerate?
    Natural refrigerants and energy efficient solutions are available. For example, Sainsburys have trialled a CO2 based refrigerant which is derived from waste sugar beet.
  9. Where is food sourced?
    Air freighted food emits up to 30 times more greenhouse gases compared to that shipped by boat. A strong UK- based supply chain with menus that focus on seasonality, allows for the reduction in food miles and an ever- changing offer.
  10. And what else…?
    We anticipate a basic level of sustainable retailing to soon become the norm so brands will need to work harder to stand out in their marketplace and attract customers. Outdoor brand Filson offer water refills in store and Patagonia’s Worn Wear programme allows you to repair, share or recycle your gear. What is your brand doing to drive footfall to their stores through pursuit of the sustainably minded consumer?

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

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…

Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain, Brooklyn

An original 1920s pharmacy transformed into a neighbourhood gem

by Rosie Higgins

On my recent trip to New York I learned that if Brooklyn were to separate from New York City it would be the fifth largest city in the USA. Whilst remarkable, this makes it all the more shameful that I have never really ‘done’ Brooklyn on previous trips. However, this…

Riley’s Fish Shack, Tynemouth

Two shipping containers make a simple seafood shack at King Edwards Bay

by Evie North

After going back home to Yorkshire for the weekend and deciding what to do, a dog walk was definitely on the cards. To spice it up a little we decided to make the hours’ drive to the seaside in order to visit the award-winning Riley’s Fish Shack, a venture which started…