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Business bouncing back


Retail


Sector Focus Long-awaited return of the high street


Birmingham’s high-street offering is a huge part of what makes the city such a vibrant place to live, and it has been encouraging to see the return of our thriving retail and hospitality communities over recent weeks. April saw the long-awaited easing


of restrictions, with online scrolling swapped for in-store shopping, and recent figures from the British Retail Consortium show just how much people have missed the presence of bricks and mortar stores. UK retail transactions increased


by 7.3 per cent in April versus the same time in 2019, when life was once ‘normal’, boosted by fashion sales as customers prepared to get dressed up, out and socialising once again. However, there is still much to be


done as we work towards a path of recovery. Share of spending has been limited until recently, with ongoing restrictions for indoor entertainment and travel, and as lockdown eases further, there will be increasing competition for consumer spend across the market. That said, if retailers strike the


right balance between offline and online experiences, and stay engaged with their audiences, I am


Retail Therapy


By David Pardoe Head of retail, marketing and tenant engagement, The Mailbox


optimistic about the future success of the sector. A testament to the ongoing


investments being made to create a customer-first, Covid-safe shopping environment, is the boost in the UK Consumer Confidence Index. As of April 2021, the index is at


its highest level since before the start of the pandemic – an encouraging indication that customers are ready to get back to the high street and enjoy in-person shopping once again. Although some may argue that


one-way systems, face-coverings and appointment-only services disrupt the nature of the customer


New venue for luxury wine bar and shop


A luxury wine bar and tasting house has opened its third retail shop in Knowle after securing an £80,000 loan from HSBC UK. Loki Wine used the funding


to revamp an empty, run down 1,600 sq ft retail unit to create a sleek, ultra-high-end wine bar and tasting house on Station Road in Solihull town centre. Ian Coulson, HSBC UK area


director for Greater Birmingham, said that Loki Wine’s opening was a sign of commitment and confidence in high-street retailing. He said: “It’s been an extraordinary challenging year for retail, but what’s refreshing is Loki Wine’s commitment and confidence in our local high streets. The team has worked hard to get to this point and deliver a third, high-end wine shop and bar.” As well as its growing physical retail offering, Loki Wine has


diversified during the pandemic to create an online retail service. It includes a series of virtual tastings delivered by wine experts from across the globe. The business expects its online offering to grow to 40 per cent post-Covid. Phil Innes (pictured), owner of Loki Wine, said: “Opening our third


venue this month to coincide with the reopening of indoor hospitality has been an extraordinary experience and certainly wouldn’t have been possible without support from HSBC UK. At Loki Wine, we’re passionate about Britain’s high-streets and wholeheartedly believe that despite the boom of online shopping during the pandemic, our town centres will continue to play a crucial role in society and, most importantly, British culture post-Covid.”


June 2021 CHAMBERLINK 63


journey, there is little in comparison to the try-before-you-buy experience that can only be found in-store. At Mailbox, we are embracing


this next chapter, taking it as an opportunity to cement our position as a leading mixed-use development. Work is well underway at level one, which is currently undergoing its transformation into ‘Spaces’, a vibrant co-working space, and we continue to bolster our broader offering with exciting projects across retail, hospitality and leisure. Birmingham is not only a hub of culture, but is built upon a strong


corporate community. With the news that Goldman Sachs will be establishing a new base in the city centre later this year, it is clear to see the footfall opportunities that neighbouring businesses have to offer.


Employers will be looking to


promote a balanced and healthy lifestyle as their colleagues return to the workplace, and location is key to ultimately ensuring a retailer’s success. Mailbox offers prime accommodation for offices, shopping, living and leisure, with a flexible ‘on-the-doorstep’ design that can be enjoyed throughout the day.


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