NW in 2019 | Break the mould

We all expect so much more now, not only from a retail or food and drink perspective, but also from a sustainability point of view. Consumers don’t just aspire to great things, they expect them, writes Andrea George of Bruntwood.

Bruntwood retail has always been entrepreneurial, with an innovative and relationship-driven approach – supporting all kinds of businesses to create non-traditional  retail and leisure concepts that people really want to engage with. We like to think about the big picture and not short term wins.

We know that creating incubation opportunities for small  businesses and finding bespoke locations that are a perfect fit for brands, big or small, (from global  companies to people trading on a market stall at the  weekend) is what creates  successful  retail environments. And more importantly – thriving cities.

For instance, Afflecks, our independent shopping emporium,  is a Manchester  institution. We took on the lease 10 years ago as landlords and it’s now fully owned and managed by Bruntwood.  We provide a chance for small independent  businesses  and creative enterprises to have a retail presence in the city centre – low rents and short leases means it’s an  accessible entry point for  anyone  with a concept or product. The result is one of the country’s best loved and most extraordinary shopping  experiences. It’s not  something that can be replicated  online or anywhere else. It isn’t a predictable approach to retail, and that’s why it works.


Bruntwood’s Hatch in Manchester, one of the schemes designed to appeal to start-up restaurants and retailers

Another example is Hatch, which is part of our Circle Square neighbourhood. We’ve built a pop-up retail and leisure destination by collaborating with some of the most exciting, independent food, drink and retail brands around. By creating  opportunities  for a diverse range  of  businesses we’ve ended up  with a concept  that is  constantly fresh, evolving and thriving, and which is a great trailblazer for Circle Square. Set in the heart of Manchester’s innovation district on Oxford Road, Circle Square is our new city neighbourhood and will include 100,000 sq ft of retail, as well as 250,000 sq ft of beautifully designed public realm.

The mix of food, drink and retail brands that we introduce to Circle Square is absolutely central to our vision for this transformative development that will combine living, working, social and green spaces.

Consumers, especially the younger demographic, are also strongly motivated by sustainability now, which is one of our biggest passions at Bruntwood.

We’re championing innovations that will make Circle Square a sustainable and eco-friendly destination when it opens in 2020. We’re looking for  exceptional  retailers with a shared vision to join us in creating the city’s  most extraordinary new neighbourhood – by thinking differently, leading the pack, and embracing a challenging but  exciting time.

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