Breakthrough Brands – How to find the next big retailer!

By Evie North

Now the UK starts to transition out of lockdown, the retail, leisure and restaurant market is inevitably in a very different place as operators look at ways in which they can adapt to the ‘new normal’.  Some operators are geared up to implement change and modify their businesses to work around the government measures of social distancing, for others, these measures may be harder to execute leaving them in a more challenging position.

The immediate impact that COVID-19 has had on the market has resulted in a number of occupiers going into administration and the market is anticipating many more announcements in the coming few months. For some of the larger businesses, this gives them the opportunity to close stores and streamline their property portfolio by re-opening fewer sites once lockdown restrictions are lifted. There are of course some operators who are rationalising their portfolio by utilising breaks and expiries to reduce store exposure. Subsequently, this will leave many landlords with rental voids and vacant units.

As agents, we recognise the importance of keeping our ears to the ground and the need to be proactive in our approach to search out the ‘next best’ exciting and emerging operators. Even before COVID-19 I was continually contacting independent operators to understand their appetite for expansion, but now this task is more vital than ever as the number of voids increase and consumer preference has been steered towards independent or boutique stores due to the more personalised retail experience.

In order to seek out the next “Breakthrough Brands”, the young independent brands or the online businesses who will form the pool of talent for the tenants of the future, we have utilised a number of approaches to develop our database which now holds approximately 800 retailers, restaurants and leisure operators. However, it’s fair to say we have found social media and in particular Instagram to be highly successful in securing a route to speaking directly with new perspective tenants who are passionate and proactive about their brands. The owners are often the respondents to their Instagram enquiries, so are generally only too happy to chat. Many highly successful brands started online before taking stores, Allbirds, Made, and Glossier to name a few were all online before they took bricks and mortar sites and with the growth of the powerful generation Z consumer, the need for a 360 omnipresence’s should not be overlooked.

Another successful route to finding new tenants has been our ‘door stepping’ approach, the old- fashioned process of visiting new emerging areas of London and beyond, knocking on the door and asking for the contact details of the owners. This tends to be as equally successful as our social media approach, as often the owners are in store and love to engage with someone who is genuinely interested in how their brand is developing.

As a business, we have invested a considerable amount of time and energy into developing these unique relationships and we are sure this will put us into good stead for helping our clients to secure tenants on both a short and long terms basis, which will help us create a point of difference and a unique reason to visit our shopping destinations.

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…

Bruce Gillingham Pollard are delighted to announce the recruitment of Jamie Orme, who will be joining the business in June 2020

Tracey Pollard

Jamie has worked for many years on behalf of both Landlords & Tenants advising on Tenant mix strategy and portfolio management.

With over 11 year experience in the property industry, Jamie has represented some of the biggest retail brands in the UK including; Jigsaw, Ted Baker, Teds Grooming Room, Fred Perry, Anya Hindmarch, Whistles and Reiss. He also acted on behalf of Granger & Co. for their first London restaurant and boutique members fitness club Bodyism for their first London club.

With an in-depth understanding of Tenant mix and strategy, Jamie has also worked with a number of Landlords, both independents and institutional – such as The Portobello Group, Cain International and Shaftesbury PLC.

“After 11 years at Orme Property, I’m delighted to be joining the team at Bruce Gillingham Pollard. I’ve loved my time at Orme Property and the opportunity to help grow BGP’s Tenant representation team is hugely exciting to me”.

Tracey Pollard, Managing Director of Bruce Gillingham Pollard says “ We have been keen to build the retail element of our tenant representation business for some time, so we are really excited about Jamie joining the team. His experience of working with both Landlords and tenants throughout London,  provides a valuable insight into the market, which is particular valuable at a time when our clients are seeking both knowledge and experience from their advisors”.

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…

BGP appointed on Edinburgh St James

by Rosie Higgins

We have been appointed to the leasing team for Edinburgh St James, the £1bn mixed-use development in the city centre. We will be acting jointly on the scheme with existing agents P-Three, Culverwell and CWM.

Located in the east end of the city, the development is one of the UK’s largest and most significant regeneration projects. Redevelopment commenced in October 2016 with demolition of the original St James shopping centre. Phase one, which includes all of the retail and leisure provision is due to open in 2020.

Upon completion, the scheme will comprise a 1.7 million sq ft ‘urban resort’ of which 850,000 sq ft is retail and leisure space. The development will be anchored by John Lewis, a multi-screen cinema, a 4 Star apart hotel for Roomzzz and W Edinburgh. The scheme will represent 21% of Edinburgh’s retail offer once open.

Head of National Leasing, Victoria Broadhead comments:

“We are delighted to be working with Nuveen on the leasing of this landmark scheme, particularly at this important juncture with just one year to go until the opening of Phase One. Nuveen’s visionary approach to creating a truly mixed-use development represents a tremendous addition to the retail and leisure offer for this great city. We are excited to get started on discussions with the high-quality operators that such a world-class scheme is likely to attract.”

For more information, please contact Victoria Broadhead.

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

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…

Mowgli Street Food opens on Church Street, Cardiff

BGP acted on behalf of the landlord, Hermes Investment Management.

by Rosie Higgins

This is Mowgli’s eighth restaurant having opened their first site in 2014 on Bold Street in Liverpool. Since then, former barrister and now TV personality, Nisha Katona has opened in Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield and Nottingham, with this unit their first site in Wales. The menus are designed to emulate authentic…

The Hut at Colwell Bay, Isle of Wight

A simple beach restaurant with fresh seafood and views across the bay
by Tracey Pollard

High quality, British seafront restaurants are growing in popularity and notoriety and over the last few years we have written about Harry’s Shack in Portstewart and South Milton Sands in Devon. It is easy to see the appeal: these are simple, beach venues serving fresh and seasonal ingredients with views across beautiful beaches. The Hut at Colwell Bay in Freshwater, Isle of Wight is no different.

We were lucky enough to visit The Hut on a beautiful sunny day. Even our arrival was glorious, arriving by boat before being picked up by one of The Hut’s tenders and transported to shore.

The restaurant opened in 2013. The interiors are ‘beach hut chic’: stylish although still casual enough to be flip flop friendly. However, it is the stunning sea view which is the real star, and two levels of terraces mean everyone is guaranteed a view. And inevitably, because it is England after all, there is the electric roof ensuring the restaurant runs all year, whatever the weather!

It is no surprise that the location means the menu is focused on the wonderful local seafood and there must be something in the sea air as well as the water, because the atmosphere is fun and buzzing.

This is a restaurant all about experience, prefect setting, fantastic views and exceptional service throughout our sitting, despite the fact we were a loud and rowdy group of 10! They even offered a collection of sun hats to those sitting in the full sun. It may have only been a long lunch, but it was long enough to feel like we had escaped our normal world for a mini holiday.

Amazónico, Madrid

Excellent Jazz and Hangout for Madrid's Glitterati

by Nigel Gillingham

Cargo, Wapping Wharf, Bristol

A container park and hub for small businesses in Bristol

by Victoria Broadhead

Cargo is part of Bristol’s glamorous new Wapping Wharf development.  Whenever I visit my friend in Bristol, it is our go-to destination for lunch and a bit of shopping and is a great example of placemaking. Cargo is a relatively large container park with approximately 35 local businesses operating out…

Sub Cult opens in One New Change

by Rosie Higgins

After much anticipation, Sub Cult are now open at 82 Watling Street, part of Landsec’s One New Change development. To celebrate the opening, free subs were given out to the lucky first 200 customers. The new store is the first permanent site for the brand which was founded five years…


Director, Saaj Kanani

interviewed by Zoe Schoon

Navrtar is the UK’s first free-roam virtual reality and bar experience. You recently opened in Dicken’s Yard, Ealing. What can people expect from the Navrtar Experience? Navrtar is the UK’s first free-roam virtual reality and bar experience. The Navrtar experience is the next generation’s version of a social experience, which…

Chin Chin, Melbourne

The most successful restaurant Melbourne has ever seen
by Sophie Moorcroft

The next stop on our Australian adventure took us to Melbourne and we were lucky enough to be recommended Chin Chin, a true Asian inspired restaurant located on the iconic Flinders Lane in the heart of the city.  Since it opened in mid 2011 it has been named the most successful restaurant Melbourne has ever seen, and the buzz since the opening has only intensified to make it a local staple as well as a tourist hot spot.

The executive chef Ben Cooper has been part of the Lucas Group for the last seven years, and has worked in London’s Nobu, Nahm, Bluebird and Pharmacy before moving to Melbourne.

The menu range is testament to Ben’s knowledge of Asian flavours and the exquisite menu showcases this, from the pad seuw of braised wagyu beef to sticky tamarind chilli duck salad there is something for everyone.

But the food is not the only reason you visit. The atmosphere as a whole is immersive. One of Australia’s most respected DJs has created playlists and the walls are covered with art from both established and emerging artists.

It is a walk in only policy unless you are lucky enough to have 10 friends. We had a two hour wait which we were told is standard even for a seemingly ‘quiet’ Tuesday night!  I would suggest you put your name down and pass the time with a trip to GOGO’s bar that sits directly underneath. Refined yet edgy, the cocktail menu highlights South East Asian ingredients.

My advice? Get there early and be prepared to wait…and wait, as it really is a Melbourne must try!

Stack, Newcastle

The North East's freshest and up-coming independent eateries, businesses and bars all in one place

by Victoria Broadhead

Panzer’s Delicatessen, London

A local anchor breathing new life into the community

by Emily Dumbell

Panzer’s Deli underwent a refurbishment at the end of 2017 and the result is the transformation of a local institution which is once again at the beating heart of St Johns Wood life.  Originally established in 1943, the ailing store was bought by local man David Josephs 3 years ago, and is now firmly…

Vinoteca to open in Paradise

This will be their first site outside London

by Zoe Schoon

Vinoteca has confirmed it has exchanged on a unit at 2 Chamberlain Square, in the Birmingham’s Paradise development. We are proud to have acted on behalf of the landlord on this letting that will add to the company’s existing 5 strong business. Set to open its doors for early Spring…

DoppleGanger, Cambridge

Founder, Alf Fowler

interviewed by Zoe Schoon

You have some excellent reviews. What do you think is the main factor behind your success? I think it’s about creating an environment where people want to work and enjoy themselves. Our staff are genuinely happy and there’s no “macho” kitchen stuff. I also work hard alongside my staff and…

Sprout & Co., Dublin

Eat as nature intended in the Irish capital
by Victoria Broadhead

On a recent visit to Dublin, I came across this little gem of restaurant and was totally blown away.  Set up by the Kirwin brothers, who are behind the Sprout juice business, they now have 6 restaurants across Dublin and Meath and a farm in Rathcoffey, Co. Kildare (about 30 km away).

Offering substantial sustainability, they offer organic salad bowls which are made up from leaves grown on their farm.  Because of this they can only offer seasonal leaves, which are local and this is then paired up with protein and grains etc in store.

Wherever possible, all meat is also local and organic, as well as other ingredients like beetroot and eggs, although, as the chap behind the counter told me, they are yet to find an organic avocado grower in Ireland!

But other than this, they are doing a great job.  In keeping with the current “wholesome over clean eating” trend, plus the demands of generation X for authenticity, this is a business that is sure to fly. By the time I left, a lunchtime queue was forming and it was already out of the door.

This is not surprising when you see the delicious menu, comprising of delights such as Paprika or Satay chicken, Tamari spiced Hoisin Mushrooms, baked falafel and Japanese salmon. All gloriously organic and as local as possible.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we see either more organic farmers branching out into restaurant operations, or restaurant operators acquiring farms.  Either way, if Sprout & Co are anything to go by, I think we will be seeing more of this style of operator.

IKEA, Greenwich

The global brand's latest UK opening sets a new sustainable standard for retail

by Andrew Gibson

Nike flagship, New York

A digital house of innovation

by Nick Garston

Streetwear has grown at a phenomenal rate. Fuelled by publications like Hypebeast, blogs like Sole Supplier and more recently by high profile brand collaborations, what started with streetwear and music has now gone full fashion, from Kanye to Virgil Abloh, the current Louis Vuitton artistic director. Supreme, the skateboard brand,…

The RealReal, New York

Make Well. Buy Well. Re-Sell.

by Nigel Gillingham

For a fantastic example both social responsibility and sustainability we need look no further than New York’s The RealReal. Situated on Wooster Street in New York’s Soho, CEO Julie Wainwright started the business online from her kitchen table, visiting customers to collect their resale items with a truck. Her website went…

La Maison Plisson, Paris

A concept store in the French capital, entirely dedicated to the pleasure of eating

by Tracey Pollard

On my latest trip to Paris, I was lucky enough to come across Maison Plisson, quite simply the most beautiful general food store I’ve ever found; a fresh and unique celebration of food.  Spread over 5,000 sq ft, on 2 floors, it is a fresh market, a wine cellar, a delicatessen…

Teatulia, Covent Garden

As oasis of calm in the heart of Covent Garden
by Amy Finlayson

Dry January is never fun, but this year the gloom was brightened with a visit to Teatulia, Covent Garden’s striking new tea-shop, recently opened on Neal Street.

Offering a good selection of 100% organic, single-origin tea, Teatulia takes its name from Tetulia, the region of north Bangladesh where the tea is grown.  They have their own garden where the tea is grown and harvested by hand, using only natural pesticides such as Neem leaf.

The tea-shop itself is calm, bright, characterful and a lovely place to relax and unwind and forget you are in hectic Covent Garden.  We were really impressed by the attention to detail that had gone into the design (best described as a modern, colonial look) and the knowledgeable, friendly staff.  Of the 8 teas available, we tried Jasmine Green and Lemon Grass but there was also a good selection of cocktails, mocktails (all tea-based) and a library stocked with literary offerings from some of the world’s leading creative thinkers – perfect for that half an hour get away from the busy city streets!

And, if you enjoy your tea so much you want to have it at home, Teatulia also sell their fresh-leaf teas in beautiful quirky tins either in store or online, so if you can’t make it into town, you can create your own mini oasis of calm at home.


allbirds, Covent Garden

London store for the brand making beautifully crafted, natural shoes that will last

by Zoe Schoon

The Coal Office, Kings Cross

Each guest at the Coal Office is witness to an entirely different, engaging experience beyond just eating.

By Dominic Tixerant

FEED, New York

Creating good products that help feed the world

by Rupert Bentley-Smith

Purple Dragon

Founder and CEO, Sharai Meyers

interviewed by Nick Garston

Eating well together, exploring the world’s best playroom and giving time back, Purple Dragon is the world’s best family club. You have sites in Chelsea and Putney.  Do you have any plans to extend elsewhere in London, nationally or even internationally? Yes, absolutely!  We’re working on a project in the…

Backyard Cinema

Founder and Creative Director, Dominic Davies

interviewed by Dominic Tixerant

Backyard Cinema was created to provide somewhere cool, where you can watch your favourite films with great food, drinks and friends. What gave you the idea to first screen a film in your back garden? It was a passion project. The very first time was something I organised with my…

Impossible Meat, Los Angeles

Is this the future for sustainable meat?

by Nick Garston

It’s hard to ignore the meat free movement and it’s no surprise that LA, the land of the smoothie and yoga leggings, is leading the way.  Impossible “meat” has been not so quietly conquering the US food industry and is now waging a full blown war on all things meaty.…