A concierge service has been launched to ease the passage of independent retailers in establishing a physical store in London’s Mayfair and Belgravia shopping precincts.
Run by property giant Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, the service offers fledgling retailers pre-opening and ongoing support.
This includes utilities set-up, facilities management, marketing and PR, discounted training workshops, an introduction to a HR services provider, as well as a store fit out – with access to vetted designers, contractors, project managers and furniture suppliers.
Grosvenor said it developed the service in response to recent research that highlighted common frustrations experienced by growing retailers that are often time-poor and on a budget.
The firm, which owns many of the West End’s key retail destinations in Mayfair and Belgravia, including Elizabeth, Motcomb, Mount, Duke and North Audley streets, said approximiately two-thirds of the retailers in its vast estate were independent brands.
“We are acutely aware of the stress and time that is involved in launching a store,” Grosvenor director of placemaking Tor Burrows said.
“Our Retail Concierge Service makes it a lot easier for ambitious retailers to take new space.
“We provide critical support and infrastructure in a cost effective and collaborative way, preventing the most common mistakes and accidental overspends, which can be damaging to a small, cost sensitive, brand.”
Ahead of its launch, Grosvenor completed a number of pilots of the concierge service.
One of these was Myne London, a fine jewellery brand, which sources emeralds and inspiration from the Swat Valley in Northern Pakistan, where the founders – two sisters – spent some of their childhood.
The team opened a pop up at 84 Bourne Street, had a launch party and went live with a website all in the same week.
“This was only made possible thanks to using the concierge service,” Myne co-founder Fiona Wellington said.
“We were very pushed for time when we signed our lease and wanted to be able to open the new shop as soon as possible.
“The support we had in setting up utilities, especially wifi, and the on-call handyman meant that we were up and running within two weeks. We were also able to be fully redecorated inside and out in this time.
“We saw this as an opportunity to trade sooner and so for us it was a financially sound decision as well as reducing unnecessary stress or costly time consuming mistakes.”
Grosvenor said a trial of the service is set to be expanded to existing brands on the estate.
“We have worked to leverage the scale of the estate for the benefit of retailers,” Burrows said.
“The experience of those on our pilot was phenomenal and we are now excited to be offering this to new brands wanting to come to our estate.”
The news comes after Grosvenor announced earlier this year that it would invest £1 billion to deliver new and improved retail and office space across its estate, backed by significant investments in the street-level environment, green spaces, cultural events and visitor experiences.
“We are investing to ensure the competitive advantage of the West End for generations to come,” Burrows said.
“Our commitment will help the estate be more open, accessible and enticing to a broader range of people.”
Outside London, Grosvenor also has assets in Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire that are worth up to £5.2 billion.