// Intu trials direct retailing with local focal coffee shop
// It is looking to create other community-based stores to boost indie retailers
// The concept is part of Intu’s 5-year turnaround strategy
Intu is creating its own community-based stores to breathe new life into the high street and give a fresh boost to independent retailers.
The shopping centre giant is testing the move to direct retailing with the launch of The Birdhouse Café, a coffee shop in Nottingham’s Intu Broadmarsh.
The concept is planned for more of Intu’s shopping destinations as part of its recently-announced five-year transformation strategy.
Intu said that each venture will operate as a standalone, rent-paying tenant, led by a retail specialist and run in partnership with local suppliers.
For example, the Birdhouse Café works with Nottingham-based coffee roastery 200 Degrees, Ugly Bread Bakery and soft drink specialist Belvoir, and also provides retail and events space to other small and start-up brands.
“We wanted to test whether a landlord can make this kind of move into direct retailing and explore the benefits it would provide our visitors, existing brands and the wider community,” Intu commercial director Trevor Pereira said.
“It was important to us that the new business we created would operate as a standalone venture with its own team who would have to face the same challenges as any other retailer, so that we could really test the concept.
“We’re seeing some strong, early successes for the Birdhouse Café in Nottingham which is proving to be a hugely popular draw for people in the city and a fantastic new platform for the flourishing independent retailers we’re working with.
“Our ambition is to grow this concept at other Intu destinations across the UK as part of our new strategy to transform our centres and nurture the best brands.
“We think this has the potential to show how small and independent businesses can thrive alongside international names to create the best possible retail and leisure experience.”