With inflation rising and fewer people in the high street, big department stores are taking the lead with creative solutions to the problem.

Many of these big department stores and other outlets, still struggling with the after-effects of the pandemic and the switch to online shopping, are coming up with novel ideas to fill what is now unused retail space.

Boosting funds with commercial property rental

Top brands like John Lewis and Marks and Spencer are planning to redevelop their stores to include residential and office space, with the attraction being they are nearly always situated in prime locations.

It’s a bold move, but would make sense to utilise space and get commercial property rental income from what would otherwise be redundant space.

So, making the most of the space and repurposing it as offices or residential accommodation allows for a new way of working and living.

It also coincides with employee apathy about the eventual return to the office.

Prestigious town centre locations an attraction

For many businesses, office space is a vital part of the business model that allows them to attract and retain top talent, and still have the face-to-face connection to make everyone feel part of a team and enjoy a common culture.

But with a combination of working from home and flexible working, it is a chance for businesses to relocate to these prestigious locations, but with smaller offices and in a more up-to-date, modern environment closer to public transport hubs.

Businesses are already looking to downsize and reduce operating costs, and many have already moved to shorter lease terms even.

Taking advantage of the space

Traditional stores take up a lot of space, so flexibility with office space has become more important and opens up multi-use solutions for these large buildings.

John Lewis Partnership recently announced plans to develop homes over the next 10 years, initially in the London area and in November, M&S was granted planning permission from Westminster City Council to redevelop its flagship Marble Arch store to include housing, retail and grade-A office space.

For help and advice with commercial property matters, please get in touch with our expert team today.


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