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Brought to you by Retail Insider and K3 Retail

Who has heard of The Fine Cheese Co.? Now, I’m betting that if you don’t live in Bath or London’s smart Belgravia then it is unlikely you will have come across this retailer. And that is probably just the way the landlord of its shop in the capital likes it.

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How about Traders or Pavilion Wine? It’s the same story. Very few people will know about these wine stores and their owner because the landlords of these two units were again looking for fresh largely unknown operators.

These examples are indicative of how today’s progressive landlords of retail property are increasingly targeting independent operators to take on leases rather than lazily bringing in the same old over-shopped names. They now want a differentiated offer and are turning their sights to the independents that have proved their retailing skills.

The Fine Cheese Co. had been operating for 25 years in Bath when Grosvenor Estates came knocking to see if its owner Ann-Marie Dyas would be interested in taking on a second unit. After a beauty parade with other coveted independents The Fine Cheese Co.’ new unit opened in June.

At Traders and Pavilion Wine the owner Nathan Lowry had been running the Pall Mall Fine Wine shop when a couple of his regular customers (from property owner Blackstone) enjoyed his proposition so much they asked him if he would like to take on a unit they owned at St Katherine’s Dock. They recognised that such independents could give the area a shot in the arm.

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Traders duly opened and around the same time another major landlord Cadogan Estates also wanted an independent food/drink business for a new unit in Knightsbridge and so Lowry was approached again. After a beauty parade Pavilion Wine successfully opened its doors in early August.

And just for good measure he then received a call from Soho Estates that led to him taking yet another central London unit. He reckons the site would have been aggressively fought over by the bigger operators if it had been put on the open market.

These examples are not unusual and the world of the independent retailer has arguably never been in ruder health. Size and scale are no longer the coveted property covenants. It is much more about a differentiated offering today.

Glynn Davis, editor, Retail Insider

K3 Retail deliver multi-channel solutions that enable retailers to create joined up shopping experiences for their customers whether they choose to buy on-line, direct, in-store or via mobile. It has over 20 years’ experience delivering award winning solutions, to more than 175 internationally recognised retail brands.