By Charlotte Roberts of Bruce Gillingham Pollard
Collaboration has been talked about a lot in the past but we’re now seeing far more substance in the way in which landlords are seeking to partner with brands.
Changing attitudes to issues such as sustainability, diversity and social responsibility have major implications for both landlords and the luxury sector – they have to face these challenges together.
This is particularly true across central London where the large landed estates dominate the prime shopping pitches but also have a wider duty-of-care than purely extracting the greatest level of income from their assets. They need to curate their retail offers and also work with occupiers who are aligned to their ethos and values.
For brands, they need to be assured that a landlord is an active partner who will can provide space and bring the flexibility and responsiveness which retailers need. Speed and simplicity are increasingly important.
How is this flexibility manifesting itself in the market?
A good example is Grosvenor which has launched a new initiative called the Simplified Lease, it’s a market-first that allows occupiers to agree a lease and have access to their premises in a matter of days. 21-st century retailing is a quick moving, dynamic sector and this is a welcome attempt to bring property provision in line with that.
It’s already seen more than 15 retailers sign-up for space including My Wardrobe HQ in Elizabeth Street.
Just as importantly, other landlords are fitting-out ‘white box space’ which can be rented by the day or the week etc. We’re working with Soho Estates to encourage the embryonic next generation of ready-to-wear and street brands some of which may become the luxe brands of tomorrow. It’s an initiative which has seen Marfa Stance open a new store in Soho’s Walkers Court.
What advice would you give to a brand looking to open a store?
- Identify a selection of locations and invest significant time in visiting them at different times of the day/week.
- Speak with any brands in that location with whom your brand and customer base would have an affinity
- Don’t be afraid to trial several locations at different times of the year
- Take some advice from a property professional: if they’re good they’ll bring more to your knowledge to your search than just a list of available properties – and may have some gems that are not be being officially marketed!
- Invest longer in the process than you will think you will need to find somewhere – getting the right store in the right location takes some time but you need to get it right.
By Charlotte Roberts
Bruce Gillingham Pollard