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Empty retail space and new uses for it

2018 hasn’t been a great year for high street retailers. Many brands have disappeared completely whilst others have closed a number of stores.

It has led to a re-think of how traditional stores present themselves and operate. We’ve previously talked about how brands are creating more immersive experiences in their stores, and there are a number of exciting additions to traditional stores popping up.

Here are just some of the things that are being added to empty retail spaces:

Crazy golf & ping pong

Competitive socialising is really big right now. By which we mean, going out with a group of friends to play games and activities. Rather than just going to the cinema or to a bar, people are now looking for more interactive ways to pass the time. So things like crazy golf, climbing walls, ping pong tables and escape rooms are popping up all over the pace in our towns and cities. To save money and to snap up valuable spaces, these types of companies are taking advantage of downsizing brands and moving into vacant premises in shopping centres, and even nestling alongside brands who are looking to rent out part of their space.

Food & drink

It’s really convenient for people to be able to go shopping and eat and drink whilst they’re there. Shopping centres have been doing this for years but with more customers turning to online shopping, high street retailers need to tempt people out of their homes with something more than just products. By converting part of their space to a dedicated food and drink area, they can reduce rent costs and add a new dimension to their offering. Primark for example have incorporated Costa Coffee’s in a range of their larger stores and Next have added cafes to a number of their stores, with the Manchester branch even having a Gino D’Acampo prosecco bar.


The health and fitness boom shows no signs of slowing down with gyms popping up left, right and centre. But where are they finding all the space? Low-cost operator The Gym Group has opened up in part of a former BHS in London and rented excess space from Sainsbury’s in Edinburgh. This allows them to keep their costs down and allows the likes of Sainsburys to save money on renting. Founder of The Gym Group John Treharne says: “We have always converted retail space – there just happens to be more of it available today.”

When a space is undergoing store refurb and refresh, our Hoardfast systems give dust control with a clean public face consistent across all sites. Available for purchase or hire, we work with the contractor to provide the most suitable hoarding in kit form. Any top-ups or extras, as phasing and reconfiguration progresses, are stocked so you can keep moving. We have fire rated panel options available for shopping malls and all panels are fast and clean to erect to minimise store disruption – perfect if part of the store is being transformed into something new whilst the other part remains open.

Additionally, Westgate Hoardfast systems can be supplied either freestanding or as a floor to ceiling option. The freestanding options have a range of stability options to ensure shoppers are safeguarded in live stores.Planning a refurb? Contact us to find out more about our Hoardfast range for retail fit out.

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