Research out this week from LDC (Local Data Company) is showing us that vacancy rates are falling by -2.3%.
There was also a surge of bad news stories, where the same numbers were showing long-term vacancies rising by 24% and the accompanying launch of KPMGs regeneration project creating headlines with pictures of un-loved retail space.
So it’s a complex issue and we’re finding it’s not ALL boarded up shop-fronts for some of the brands we work with. Our hospitality and casual dining clients are facing increasingly competitive pressures in finding the right locations.
Only the other day I heard of over 16 companies bidding for a relatively small space on a local High Street, where over half were national chains. This was a space of approximately 800 Sq Ft and not where I would immediately think the retail and leisure economy was booming.
Yet over 16 brands were bidding and 15 were going to fail!
So it got me thinking. How many brands undertake a pitch for space every week? Statistically speaking, if I simply look at my anecdotal evidence, the answer they will get is more often “no”. So how do brands make sure their efforts to secure the right location actually work? Many work with agents, however the work has to start with the brand itself.
Here at Dunk Design, we’ve done our fair share of Landlord Packs over the years and have recently been supporting both a skin care brand and a Scandinavian bakery looking to secure space in London. This work is where we present the brand concept, including appeal, target, interiors, visual merchandising and marketing.
It’s can be an intensive process. We have to present the brand concept in a way that allows the Landlord to see how it will work in the overall mix they want to achieve for their location.
The packs can be over 30 pages long, including technical drawings, or one-pagers telling the compelling brand story. These are all aimed at differentiating the brand in what is invariably a highly competitive market. Granted we do a lot of work in airport concessions and shopping centres, where the F&B sector is most competitive, however the process is one where a clear brand concept is a must to get the landlord’s attention, gain their approval and ultimately throw open the doors.
So Our Top 3 Tips for Landlord-Packs;
- Refine your brand concept – be able to clearly bring your concept to life and take them on the journey. Being able to visually demonstrate how it will look and feel is crucial. And work with your suppliers! You’ll need good design, visual merchandising and don’t forget your own people. Everything from rendered images for interiors, to menu development is a crucial investment for the brand concept story.
- Know your Landlord’s goals – ask for background on what the Landlord wants the space to be. Understand the current retail traffic, the strategic mix of retail the landlord may be pursuing and your competition – your agent can help with this. All this will give you an understanding of how you can best connect your brand to what the Landlord’s goals are.
- Have clear marketing to reach your new customer base – and don’t forget to clearly communicate how you’re going to increase the right kind of retail traffic. You want customers, as does your prospective Landlord of retail space. Don’t forget to tell the story of how you will play your part.
BONUS TIP – all this takes time! Don’t underestimate what’s required to get it right.