Intu grows its own tenants

Intu trials direct retailing with local focal coffee shop

Shopping centre owner intu is creating its own community-based stores to breathe new life into the high street and give a fresh boost to independent retailers. It is testing the move to direct retailing with the launch of The Birdhouse Café, a coffee shop in Nottingham’s intu Broadmarsh which promotes a number of local businesses.

The concept is planned for more of intu’s popular shopping destinations as part of its new, five-year transformation strategy. Each venture will operate as a standalone, rent-paying tenant, led by a retail specialist and run in partnership with local suppliers.

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.

Trevor Pereira, commercial director at intu, said: “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. 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. 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.”

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