High Street retail is on the way out. If you look at the data on shop closures and consumer habits BEFORE the pandemic you can see a steady decline. The pandemic in 2020 saw several big High Street names collapse and an estimated 200,000 retail jobs vanish, probably forever.
Now that most EU countries and other developed economies seem keen on isolating people and encouraging the home delivery of goods and services, maybe it’s time everyone re-imagined retail city centre spaces as primarily residential – with a little leisure/hospitality/makers markets on the side, mainly at the weekend.
That raises questions for Commercial property insurers long-term. Plus, it offers an opportunity for big insurers to work with Councils, who are keen to score voter points by building more affordable housing in town and city centres. Those new residents will need to shop somewhere and if those retail units can be sustainable/vegan type outlets then that ticks the Build Back Better box. Expect more `sustainable community retail’ and similar jargon from politicians during the rest of the 2020s.
Here’s news from L&G, who are leading the way as regards this trend in the UK, building an Indie retail street in wealthy Poole.
With the much-anticipated reopening of non-essential shops finally here, businesses will be welcoming locals back into their stores. For one street in Poole, the 2021 easing of lockdown is particularly exciting: Poole’s Kingland Crescent has been completely revamped as part of LGIM Real Assets strategy to re-invent and re-position their retail places.
LGIM (Legal & General Investment Management) Real Assets has launched its blueprint for the high street of the future, kick-starting today with a new curated shopping street, ‘Kingland’, championing the best local independents and SME’s in Poole, Dorset. Alongside non-essential retail reopening, 10 new innovative young entrepreneurs are opening their doors for the first time at Kingland Crescent in Poole, adjacent to Legal & General’s Dolphin Shopping Centre.
The businesses have been given a shop with no rent and no business rates for the first two years to develop space for a creative community to flourish, injecting a new identity and vibrancy into the town centre. The initiative forms part of Legal & General’s ambitious national strategy to reinvent retail by re-imagining its retail assets, futureproofing them for the long-term.
The carefully curated and diverse line up includes a fishmonger, coffee roaster, design studio, surfboard shop, zero waste grocery store, art gallery, gin bar and store, home interiors specialist, restored second-hand furniture shop and perfumer (perfumier). Alongside today’s launch of Kingland, Legal & General’s pioneering plans for Poole include a brand-new take on public realm, a local makers market with space for over 15 vendors, and a calendar of 500 curated annual events.
As a long-term investor, Legal & General is looking well beyond the next 24 months and the programme is already being prepared for roll out across a number of other UK locations. Whilst a blueprint, it’s not a ‘cookie cutter’ approach: each curated offering will depend on the local community’s wants and needs.
The redevelopment of Kingland Crescent is the first step in Legal & General’s long-term plans for the area which will see innovation and investment in the neighbouring Dolphin Shopping Centre. Within the next 12 months, further units are set to open at the shopping street as part of the project’s next phase. Plans to bring an annual programme of local events to the new retail space are already underway.