The Changing Landscape of Retail

“The shopping experience has been evolving since it began”

The City Property Association (CPA) packed out Madison at the revolutionary One New Change – a shopping destination in the heart of the City, for a sold out NextGen seminar discussing the future of retail. 

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© Christina Solomons

Over 100 guests were welcomed to Madison rooftop bar and restaurant by Paula Gonzalez, Chair of the CPA’s NextGen Steering Group, to a timely panel discussion on the Future of Retail in the Square Mile.

G&T Partner Steven Bennett kicked off the morning seminar speaking about the ever-changing retail landscape and the need to balance both online and offline customer experiences. He impressed the importance of investing and supporting the NextGen generation of industry leaders to feel empowered to deliver projects of the future.

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Steven Bennett, G&T Partner - © Christina Solomons

The Future of Retail in the City focussed on the advancements of shopping, food and drink, health and wellbeing in the Square Mile. In the past, the City of London has been known simply as a place for work, where busy buildings and streets become empty during evenings and weekends. The discussion looked at how this is changing and what current occupiers and landlords are doing to help introduce new retail experiences into the area.

Nicola Sheppey, Marketing and Communications Manager at ONECITY, an online initiative focussed on promoting culture and events happening in the City, gave a presentation on the aspects that make it such a unique location – including the experiences and the City’s events, design and aesthetics. She also reinforced the importance of celebrating the City as a place of architectural importance.

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Nicola Sheppey, Marketing & Communications Manager at ONECITY - © Christina Solomons

The seminar went on to explore the role of retail and other leisure activities in the City’s eco-system. A diverse panel debated the importance of independent retailers, the role of the landlord and the possibility of future changes to public realm to increase footfall.

From the perspective of the landlord David Atcherley-Symes, Retail Leasing Director at Landsec, used his experience to speak about the changes he’s seen over the last 10-20 years whilst delivering ‘Bond Street in the City’. Going back to the beginning of One New Change, David described the aspirational objectives of the retailers and the importance of creating spaces fit for the future.

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© Christina Solomons

Picking up on the aspirational mind-set needed when thinking about the future of retail, Claire Dumontier-Marriage of Cheapside Business Alliance, focussed on the evolution in Cheapside, where the traditional tailor is now looking to develop their offer to compete with new entrants to the market.

She also spoke about the new ‘Plastic Free City’ initiative coming soon – aimed at encouraging businesses to limit single-use plastics within their stores. This will contribute to ensuring the spaces remain sustainable for the future.

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Claire Dumontier-Marriage of Cheapside Business Alliance - © Christina Solomons

Annabel Lui, founder of Cutter & Squidge bakery at the Royal Exchange spoke about the importance of wellness to the City consumer and the growing importance of understanding the offer being made to customers. She highlighted to grow a customer base as an independent retailer is very different from the established brands and her method of success hinged on creating a positive buying experience.

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© Christina Solomons

Will Brown from CBRE challenged the view that tourists are of secondary importance to the City workers as a target market - arguing that the City has one of the biggest tourist attractions in London in St Paul’s Cathedral and that we should be doing more to create attractive spaces where tourists will want to linger for longer.

The panel ended with advice to new retailers: to remain at the forefront of retail in the City, it’s important to remember the customer is king. To keep the customer engaged with your brand create a sense of community through the experiences you provide.

Speakers at the event included:

  • Paula Gonzalez, Chair of the CPA NextGen Steering Group and Associate at JRA
  • Steven Bennett, Partner at Gardiner & Theobald
  • Nicola Sheppey, Marketing and Communications Manager at ONECITY
  • David Atcherley-Symes, Retail Leasing Director at Landsec
  • Annabel Lui, founder of Cutter & Squidge bakery at The Royal Exchange
  • Claire Dumontier-Marriage, BID Manager for Cheapside Business Alliance
  • Will Brown, Associate Director (London Retail) at CBRE

G&T is proud to be programme champion of the CPA NextGen Programme for 2019 - supporting and engaging the next generation of leaders with the future of the City.

To find out more about the City Property Association, visit their website.

To find out more about G&T’s NextGen industry partnerships read our latest article or watch our film.

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