May 12, 2021
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Lone Design Club expands links with landlords for pop-ups in empty stores

May 12, 2021

Empty stores are an eyesore and dampen the mood and look of any UK high street or mall. So the retail industry is welcoming the Lone Design Club (LDC) and its innovative initiative to connect hard-pressed independent designers and brands to landlords' vacant lots.

Lone Design Club

 In a “groundbreaking” move, LDC has partnered with landlords up and down the UK to reactivate empty retail spaces, giving small brands access to locations that wouldn't generally be possible for them to take on.

These spaces are being utilised in many ways, becoming shoot locations, hosting various LFW activities, shoppable windows, dark stores (locations converted to local fulfilment centres), and physical pop-ups.

LDC and the landlords involved are delighted with these activations’ success, with sales improving and new tenants secured for 2021”, says LDC.

It added: “Some 44% of units are now long-term let, and shoppable windows are seriously driving community engagement - with shoppers three times more likely to purchase online having seen the items/curation in the windows”.

It says new partnerships are being “confirmed daily”, with the project “gaining momentum”. 

Its most notable partnership started in May 2020 on London’s South Molton Street with a street-wide project in conjunction with the City of London Corporation, one of the majority stakeholders of South Molton Street.

Most recent note partners include Cardiff’s St David’s Shopping Centre, Bart’s Square, in London’s Farringdon, The Glades in Bromley, and Islington Square in north London 

“With new partnerships now secured well into 2021 for the UK… LDC is a driving force in the movement to save the high street”.

It added: “The team is proud to bring life back to the high street and will continue to do so, one unit at a time”.

LDC CEO Rebecca Morter said: “Even before the Covid-19 crisis, the landscape of the physical high street has been in a state of flux for some time. With many store closures, more empty units on the high street than ever before, and young designers are struggling to pay rents and high rates, change needed to come. Importantly, we needed to think outside the box and look for new collaborative ways of working.
LDC [is] delighted that landlords have embraced the need for change. We’re seeing such a positive impact of these collaborations with massive estates such as South Molton Street and the City of London Corporation helping to drive this change.

"Seeing this new format combining so well with our existing pop-up model, we hope to demonstrate to other independents that landlords are open to new, more creative ways of working.  And that these fantastic locations are possible for independent brands”.

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