Business Pleasure

A revitalisation in retail

A revitalisation in retail

Blog | 15 Feb

Commentary by Mark Whittaker, Executive Director - Property Investment and Management at Peel L&P

Peel L&P is well-known for delivering transformational projects. We’re focused on creating thriving sustainable places for people to enjoy, relax and unwind. Our experience in the retail and leisure sectors allows us to create outstanding and unique experiences for all.

As the Executive Director for Property Investment and Management, I oversee our nationwide Retail Parks portfolio and also our exceptional retail, leisure, and entertainment destination; Trafford Palazzo in TraffordCity.

Despite in recent years, retail news seeming to have a gloomier tone, dominated by declining footfall and the rise of ecommerce; for Peel L&P, retail is a positive and rapidly changing, exciting and dynamic sector.

At the heart of local communities

With more than 2 million sq ft of retail space within our Retail Parks portfolio, we own and manage retail parks in many communities across the UK. From our sites in Yeovil to Straiton, we place ourselves at the heart of the local communities in which we operate, and it’s this philosophy along with our entrepreneurial spirit and ability to adapt with, rather than against, the fast-moving digital times; that has enabled us to build a long-term business that enables our customers, retailers and communities to flourish.

In KPMG’S ‘Future of Retail Transitioning from retail to consumer commerce’ report published back in January 2021; it stated that in order to succeed, retailers will be required to ‘take a fresh look at the trends influencing the future’ and that those retailers whom are ‘able to quickly embrace new consumer and workforce trends, will almost certainly have a competitive advantage in this age of accelerated disruption’. We understand this need to adapt as referenced in the report, and the importance of us getting the right tenant mix to meet the needs of our customers. We have worked with retailers to further develop their omnichannel approach at their Retail Park stores, with many of the stores now offering convenient options like click and collect or next-day-delivery to their stores.

Experience choice and convenience

In 2021, we had a phenomenal year for Retail Parks, seeing the completion of 26 projects (including deals, lease renewals and openings), which averaged out as one project every two weeks. Experience, choice and convenience are all key drivers in shaping consumer decisions. We have seen themes emerge from our own Retail Park customers, leading to us increase the number of food, convenience and lifestyle brands within our mix.

Over the financial year, we have welcomed eight new food and beverage operators. At our Straiton Retail Park; Greggs, Starbucks and Tony Macaroni have joined our tenant mix. Popular burger and deserts restaurant ‘Cow and Cream’ have opened in our Barnsley Retail Park along with a convenient Starbucks drive-thru; and we are looking forward to welcoming Tim Hortons, an extremely popular Canadian coffee, donuts and fast-food favourite; to our Stockport Retail Park imminently. 

Focus on physical health

With more people focusing on their physical health and work/life balance, we have seen an increased demand and interest for more lifestyle focused offerings, and so we have welcomed a new Sports Direct gym and Evans Cycles to our Barnsley Retail Park. Our partnership with Sports Direct continues to flourish further with them also renewing their leases for their stores at out Corby and Straiton Retail Parks. The trend in health and wellbeing continues, with Go Outdoors renewing their lease in Brislington, and Boots relocating their flagship store at Straiton. 

Perhaps with the increased amount of time we have all been spending at home, it has also got people thinking about the quality of their sleep, as another theme we have seen emerge, is the demand for bed specialist stores across our Retail Parks. Bensons for Beds can be found at our Gloucester, Stockport and Straiton Retail Parks and we have enjoyed working with Archers Sleep Centre on the opening of their new site at Straiton. 

Trafford Palazzo enhancing a TraffordCity - a world class destinantion

Barton Square

Our Retail portfolio also includes the more recently acquired Trafford Palazzo, located in the heart of TraffordCity. TraffordCity itself is a world-class destination at the forefront of retail, leisure and commercial development attracting more than 40 million visits each year and our plans for Trafford Palazzo will further enhance what is fast becoming the most important cluster of retail and leisure activities within the North of England.

Trafford Palazzo already attracts five million visitors a year, and our masterplan for the 330,000 sq ft complex, envisages us building on its existing success by providing best in class retail space and backdrop for global brands to showcase flagship stores, new design concepts and product ranges. Following extensive building work in 2019/20 the spectacular fully covered glass-domed roof, granite floor finishes, and an additional floor to provide more than 110,000 sq ft of additional retail and leisure space has been delivered.

Memorable experiences with the very best in retail, leisure and entertainment 

Following our acquisition in 2021, we worked on a rebrand to transform what was formerly known as Barton Square into Trafford Palazzo. We chose the new name to reflect the Italian theme of its palatial architecture, design, and culture with painted Roman murals, 120 statues, a Roman-style courtyard fountain and glass-domed roof. Our mission is to provide a fun and exciting experience with a feel-good factor for all the family to enjoy. Trafford Palazzo will offer quality products and memorable experiences with the very best in retail, leisure and entertainment – much like the bustling and popular Italian squares that provided our inspiration for the rebranding.

So on reflection, although seeing widespread further disruption for the retail sector since 2020, I do believe that our retail businesses within Peel L&P showcase how adaptable we are, and our pioneering spirit and ability to evolve and develop. By working collaboratively with our retail partners, we will continue to create experiences our customers and visitors will love and demonstrate our continued confidence in the retail and leisure sector.  

Find out the latest news from Peel L&P’s Retail Parks by following us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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@traffordcity | 25 May

🇬🇧✨ Come along to @TraffordPalazzo’s Best of British party this weekend! On Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th May, a street party will be in full swing at Trafford Palazzo with plenty of activities for all ages to enjoy. Find out moretraffordcity.co.uk/tp-jubileeSE

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