Westfield looking to turn House of Fraser store into co-working space
In a further sign of the pressures facing UK retailers and landlords, about two-thirds of one of the mall’s anchor stores could be redeveloped for office use.
House of Fraser’s 104,000 sq ft store is one of five anchor units at the shopping centre alongside Next, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose. The fifth anchor tenant was Debenhams, which confirmed last month that it will not reopen following the coronavirus crisis after Westfield refused to give it another round of rent reductions.
Despite being one of Europe's busiest shopping centres with 31 million visitors annually, Westfield London is not immune to the issues affecting physical retailers. Monsoon Accessorize, Victoria’s Secret, Oasis and Warehouse, and Aldo have all collapsed in recent weeks, and are either closing their stores at the mall or likely to ask for rent cuts.
Finding new ways of generating income beyond retail is emerging as a key priority for landlords amid growing concerns for their financial future.
According to Estates Gazette, no operator has been lined up to run the office space yet. Westfield is considering launching its own offering if talks with prospective partners do not progress.
Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield told the trade journal that the move is part of a wider strategy to provide more mixed-use experiences at the shopping centre.
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