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Old October 25th, 2007, 05:55 PM   #201
liverpolitan
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But I can't see Grosvenor mothballing shops or offering free rent to trendy stores as some sort of commitment to improving Liverpool's offering, when they could get some other, perhaps less desirable, store willing to pay. Surely an such incentives would have to be payed by the council.
First of all Grosvenor have commitments to the city, and were given this opportunity in competition to others who also sought it. So it's not for the city to offer them a penny, given the licence to make money Grosvenor accepted when they bid for this. They can probably offset it off taxes anyway with a bit of clever accounting.

Secondly, as regards metro's point, investment decisions are often marginal, with risks either way, and so I think all that is being suggested (certainly by me) is something to sway the balance in favour. Free rent and charges (eg its business rates and electricity bills and maintenance etc) could make the necessary difference to make it worth staffing up and stocking a store, with the ability to close in five years (once the rent free period ends) if it's not profitable by then. I don't know the industry so I don't know what the mix of costs are - and I am sure staffing costs are a major element - so obviously it would only sway Selfridges if it were a marginal decision. Given that demand is not going to be huge I am not sure that they need vast numbers of staff - the few times I've popped into the mostly empty Manchester city centre Selfridges the few staff around have looked a bit bored. I suspect it might be surprisingly successful however, and would make the deciding difference for a lot of people to give L1 and Liverpool City Centre a visit instead of Chester or Manchester.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 05:55 PM   #202
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When House of Fraser opened in Swindon the local council paid their rent for the first two years to help the store get setup, and up and running.
It's a gamble though, whether it will stay or not. Liverpool being a much larger city with a larger catchment area would make you think this would not be necessary, despite competition form Manchester or Trafford. These stores aren't poor and can afford the rent, the thing is they decide it's not worth their while. Would the situation really be much different, say, after three or five years, when the council decide to remove the preferential treatment, something the local political opposition will complain about from the off? Would such stores potentially hold the city to ransom, more of a "You need us more than we need you" sort of affair? Also, would the less trendy and ultimately less financial affluent businesses that have to, ironically, pay full whack, not resent this arrangement?
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Old October 25th, 2007, 05:56 PM   #203
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Have you any idea how much it costs to open a store, and then run it for 5 years?

Even just opening a store (something I have been involved in on the IT side) costs a bloody fortune.

Having a rent free period helps cover these costs, but the store still needs to take a significant amount of money to break even.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 06:00 PM   #204
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Maybe, but we're talking about the most affluent and poshest stores. If Peacocks can afford to open a store and pay full whack, then Harvey Nicks and all the other beautiful people stores certainly can also.

Last edited by Gareth; October 25th, 2007 at 06:55 PM.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 06:00 PM   #205
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I have to say Mark you are talking absolute shite mate.... we need to thrash this out over a pint....
If grovesnor were to offer free rent to the likes of harvey nics etc then they would have to offer it too everyone.
The so called perceived failings to attract high end shops to the city is not a failing of Grovesnor its a failing of the city to provide a local economy strong enough to be able sustain these shops.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 06:02 PM   #206
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Probably a fair few Chris. However, how many people from the Liverpool area actively avoid shopping in the city centre because it doesn't cater for them? Certainly enough to make Cheshire Oaks and the Trafford more than viable.

The challenge on this one would be retaining the high end anchor at the end of the trial period, I agree, but things can move rapidly in the space of five years. Remember the Armani Exchange claiming that they did something like 800% more business than they were expecting when they opened? If the trial is a success, then wouldn't it make it more viable for their rivals to also open up here?

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But I can't see Grosvenor mothballing shops or offering free rent to trendy stores as some sort of commitment to improving Liverpool's offering, when they could get some other, perhaps less desirable, store willing to pay. Surely an such incentives would have to be payed by the council.
It wouldn't be just to improve Liverpools offering though, would it? They could have the likes of Peackcks, Ethels etc paying rent and drawing in a few passing shoppers to make a bit of money. Or they could have Selfridges there, rent free for five years, adding prestige to the scheme, and pushing up the rental values of the surrounding units. I reckon the two stores either side of a Selfridges would pay five times more to be there as opposed to being next to Peacocks.

Trevor, I also reckon the increase in passing trade would help placate the bog standard shops wanting to move into the area, who know that they can make a profit. If they don't like a prestige flagship being offered an incentive to drag the whole scheme upwards, they can **** off back to Bootle Strand.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 06:03 PM   #207
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what the **** is everyones obsession with these posh stores... gareth , mark have you won the lottery since i last seen ya....
Once again market forces - its simple really!
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Old October 25th, 2007, 06:06 PM   #208
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Not the same.

Selfridges / Harvey Nics will not have in house departments geared up at opening new stores.

Peacocks will.

Each time Selfridges or Harvey Nics opens a new store it will cost them a hugely disproportionate amount compared to a company like Peacocks.

As I said, I used to work for House of Fraser's IT department, they had dedicated people who had experience of opening many stores.

HoF had opened so many stores they had a model that was followed each time.

Over a decade ago, just to fit out the HoF store in Manchester with new tills would cost well in excess of £250k, that is before you start paying for cabling and all the other millions of IT things required.

Then you have all the shop fitters. For the month leading up to a new shop opening, they are hives of activity 24/7, the wages paid much be massive.

What I am saying is the rent free period will go someway to help with the opening costs, but the store will certainly need to be able to stand alone to be able to make a go of it.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 06:08 PM   #209
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what the **** is everyones obsession with these posh stores... gareth , mark have you won the lottery since i last seen ya....
Once again market forces - its simple really!

It's called regeneration. It's been discussed to death. You need the type of shops that will attract inward investors - partly because it offers them confidence that big high value brands are investing, and more practically because it means their wives and senior staff can find expensive stuff in the shops. So it is partly about business perception, and partly about providing a bigger range of services for people with more cash. It means those with cash in Greater Liverpool (L1 has a catchment of around 2million plus people - don't tell me there are a few hundred a day who'd go and buy something for more in Selfridges than it would cost elsehwere) staying in Greater Liverpool instead of leaking out to Manchester.

I'm a lowly paid public official and Ive bought stuff in Selfridges that you can't get in other shops - it's not like Harrods. Me aside (I am an old bargain hunter with no sense of style or fashion), it is absolutely perfect for those aged mid twenties to mid forties with reasonably high disposable incomes who are fashion and style conscious.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 06:10 PM   #210
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What I am saying is the rent free period will go someway to help with the opening costs, but the store will certainly need to be able to stand alone to be able to make a go of it.
Which is precisely the point. Offer them a sweetener to see if it works. Then make sure the rest of the city pulls its weight to make sure it works after the trial.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 06:13 PM   #211
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the city needs to attract the jobs to the city first to sustain these high end shops.... as for the thing about armani exchange i think thats a good old scouse urban myth!
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Old October 25th, 2007, 06:14 PM   #212
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indeed, but someone made the comment that they could not make a loss if they got free rent, I simply point out they could lose an absolute fortune it things didn't work out, even with free rent.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 10:26 PM   #213
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I think Blabs and Martin are getting confused.

It hasn't been a lack of suitable premises that has led to the decline of Liverpool as a regional shopping centre, it has been a shrinkage of demand and the growth of competition elsewhere. If the demand had been there, Lewis's would have thrived as a Dept store and upgraded its rather grand premises, but the demand was not there, and it became a bit quiet and down-at-heel. Those who would have come from Southport or Wrexham or Childwall to Lewis's 30 years ago are now going to the Trafford Centre, Chester or central Manchester for a range of shops that Liverpool cannot match.

So the spanking new retail precinct, regardless of how well it integrates into the existing one, is not of itself growing the market. It only grows the market if it attracts new shoppers in. They aren't coming to see new architecture (we might, but we are not normal): they are attracted by the range of shops. So unless they can offer a significant new variety of shops, that add to the offer of the city centre as a whole, then it's not adding up.

I hope their promotional budget (despite the fact that regional TV will not doubt ignore it whereas if it were in Manc it would receive hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of free publicity on BBC and ITV) is sufficient to make a difference. I'm not all gloom and doom on this, I'm quietly optimistic that something good is going to happen. But it needs a very big push (I've raised public transport links as one of the unresolved issues), and a big promotion to persuade people to return to Liverpool city centre.

But if the promotion is to be credible, they simply have to get some better tenants in - the fact they are already pre-mothballing some units in the hope that demand picks up after they open is perhaps a sign of how desperate they have become with the current state of lettings. I've said it before, but worth repeating (as everyone else seems to repeat themselves on this thread)...it's in Grosvenor's own interests to pay a quality tenant to come to L1, with years and years of free rent. That would establish their centre as a magnet for the region, and push up the rental values for the rest of their property throughout L1 and the properties that are struggling to re-let elsewhere in town. They should be paying Harrods or Liberty or Selfridges or Heals or someone money to move in - 5 years free rent and charges, and an agreed low rent for the following 5 years.
Actually Poli, I believe it is you, and a certain other, who is confused. I congratulate you on your attempt to evidence your opinions, unlike a certain other who repeatedly appears to wet himself in an orgy of unsubstantiated pessimism and whinging.

Now it isn't my role to defend Grosvenor or to paint a rosier picture than exists, of Liverpool's retail situation.

The claim is repeatedly being made that Grosvenor are failing to bring in a certain calibre of retailer that Liverpool needs to regenerate itself. I have to make the following points...

a) Does anybody here work for Grosvenor or their agents, and can anybody here claim to know what is really happening, and which retailers have or have not agreed, or are agreeing, or will agree in the future, contracts with Grosvenor? I'm not talking about noddy lists published for the general public, I'm talking about an accurate knowledge of the situation.

b) Even if we can really claim to know which retailers have been signed (and will be signed in the future), and assuming we then believe this to be disappointing... so what?

Poli makes the point that it is demand-side factors that led to the relative demise of Liverpool as a retail destination. He is right to make this rudimentary point. But it is my contention that he, and Awayo, are either being unreasonably critical of Grosvenor, or were naive enough in the first place to believe that Grosvenor could bend market forces to their will and create the demand necessary to turn Liverpool into the location of choice for high calibre retailers. Which is it guys?

Poli claims that it was never a lack of suitable premises that led to the decline of retail in Liverpool, yet has been misled into thinking the construction of new premises by Grosvenor could turn things around.

So even if Grosevnor are not succeeding in attracting, at this moment in time, the retailers considered to be high calibre, this shouldn't come as much of a surprise. "It's the economy stupid."

Liverpool's displacement as a retail centre is based on a range of factors, some of which could include the following:

a) Huge economic decline locally;
b) A lack of investment in the retail quarter (paving, street furniture, etc) which led to it becoming tired and unattractive;
c) A lack of quality premises built speculatively ready for potential tenants, and an over reliance on premises built before and just after the war;
d) Competition from other retail centres;
e) A lack of marketing of the city as a retail centre;
f) Poor cohesion of the city centre, between its various assets and a poor offer of services and facilities complimentary to the retail sector (e.g. offices near to the retail area, conference facility, etc.)
g) Individual retailers not investing in their Liverpool branches (e.g. M&S and others)

There are probably many more factors. However, my optimism regarding Liverpool's retail scene is born out of the fact that the above mentioned factors are being comprehensively tackled as we speak. I don't claim to know whether or not Grosvenor are signing up the high calibre retailers people hope for, but I do know that the barriers to them doing so are being dealt with and fixed.

I believe Grosvenor will deliver on their promises. It may not be by 2008 as some have expected (although they may have made some big in-roads by then.) But Liverpool is changing in a big way. With the massive investment pouring in and the developments, both within and around, the retail sector, it is inconceivable that Liverpool's economy will not realise substantial benefits and attract in far larger numbers of people than it has done for decades. I haven't even mentioned CofC yet.

a) Millions of square feet of office space is being created, and this will (sooner or later) lead to a big increase in city centre office-based employment;
b) Concert/conference arena - tens of thousands of visitors to the centre, within walking distance of the retail zone, every week;
c) Significant environmental and public realm improvements, the centre is starting to look fresh again;
d) Cruise liner facilities - thousands of visitors, potentially, on a weekly basis within walking distance of the centre;
e) Massive amount of central residential development increasing the day and night time population of the centre;
f) Large amounts of hotel space being created and other development, which will draw in visitors to the centre.
g) Potential tram development (to be fair, Grosvenor might be doing better had they not been let down by the failure of the tram scheme.) If it happens, there will be obvious benefits for retail in Liverpool.

h) The L1 development integrates the centre of Liverpool. It will become one magnificent whole, improving the general appeal as a place to live, work and visit, but also to shop in. Brand new premises and environment, 2000 parking spaces, and a larger retail sector, consisting of the existing Bold, Church and Lord St axis, Met Qr and the new L1 extension. The retail sector will be bigger, better equipped and more impressive. Speculative premises are there to absorb new retailers as and when they feel ready to invest in Liverpool.

If these things don't create the demand that has been missing for so long then I don't know what will.

There can be little doubt that Liverpool's retail sector will, in 2-3 years time, be miles better than it was 1 year ago. Indeed, there will have been tangible improvements even a year from now, with improved existing stores and stores new to the city. As the economy improves, and as Liverpool becomes a better place to have a shop in, the space will be there (in L1 and surrounding premises) to accommodate those stores interested.

I don't see the point in endless, speculative discussion about whether a company can, or cannot, deliver an instant revolution in Liverpool's retail scene. Ultimately, we will not be able to judge for sure for another two years at least. In any case, there is every reason to be very optimistic. Let's wait and see what happens.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 10:57 PM   #214
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Blabs i fnd myself in agreement with nearly all of what you have said....
which in itself is quite alarming!
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Old October 25th, 2007, 11:22 PM   #215
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QUOTE=liverpolitan;16099914]Look at what they are building? They have committed to building it in advance of knowing who they will let to in most cases, so that is really irrelevant. Them agreeing to build a building doesn't not guarantee they will find a quality new tenant who isn't relocating from elsewhere in the city. That is just an irrelevant argument I'm afraid.

Look at what they are replacing? Well yes, that's the whole point - they are creating a fantastic new precinct out of a slummy one - but it is emerging that it may have been on a false or naively optimistic prospectus. If they leave behind a low-quality shopping desert elsewhere in the centre, with blight setting into currently decent areas, then you need to look at the overall impact not just the shiny new precinct.

What are they doing that is different? They have failed, entirely, to entice a significant upmarket new retailer who would not in any event have considered moving to Liverpool. That is what is different about this. They have not signed up anyone who will attract shoppers who otherwise go to Chester or Manchester. Debenhams is a decent mid-market store, despite their recent poor performance, have been expanding nationally and so will have been looking at Liverpool anyway. Indeed, had L1 not been built, who knows if they might have found themselves moving into Lewis's building or somewhere like that. To date, there is no evidence that L1 is adding anything of note, and I am starting to worry again now because I really did think we'd have better news by now.

This isn't about being positive or negative - L1 was not just about physical redevelopment, it was about re-positioning and growing Liverpool as a regional shopping centre. That requires not just the right buildings, but the right tenants. The buildings are going up, and the lettings announcements are disappointing. Arguing "look at it - its splendid and therefore successful" is meangingless - it can look splendid, but also be far less successful for the city than it needs to be.

I think the very real concerns about L1 need to be factored into the business case for the tram, because the city centre probably does need an additional push to try to get people in. It also reinforces the need to try to get places like Wigan within the fare-zone for Merseyside as well as Greater Manchester (it costs twice as much to travel from Wigan to central Liverpool as to central Manchester by train, despite the train journey actually being slightly quicker to Liverpool). So these concerns needn't be seen as negative, they are partly arguments for why other investment priorities need to be bent and changed.[/QUOTE]

In the main, a very ignorant, naive and opinionated response that neither deals with my arguaments or actually moves this debate anywhere but into misinformed speculation.

My first arguament is far from irrelevant as it refers to the amount of space and the size of the speculative development that is going up so please dont try to be so patronising. The biigest problem with Liverpool's retail environment HAS been the lack of quality space available to move into, hence the success of the Met quarter. Remember that the league tables of retail successful cities is largely judged on the amount of square footage filled by shops and not the quality or range. This is where most people are misinformed
Remember that this is speculative public sector and on a huge scale and no company, speculative developer or not would yake such a risk if they did not envisage success.

Where is the evidence of all of these relocations, constantly reffered to by posters and a so called 'low quality shopping desert'??????????

As for the lettings being dissapointing, to whom? Certainly nobody in the lettings or retail industry. The lettings are following exactly the pattern that would be expected of any new city shopping centre and exactly along the lines always made public by grosvenor i.e. district by district - the high street section first.

Judge them when they let the boutique section of the development and see what their version of exclusive high end shops is then

Also, could someone please list the shops available in Chester, Manchester or the Trafford centre that are not in Liverpool and the lines that are therefore unavailable here - the fact is that Selfredges and Harvey Nicks apart, they do not exist (unless they have a unique to Liverpool equivalent) The problem lies, and increasingly evident on this very forum with perseption and not the actual goods on sale. That is,people do not THINK Liverpool has the sort of retail experience available in other cities - Yes a new anchor store along the lines of the 2 dept stores mentioned over and over would go some way to redeeming this misinformed opinion people have of the city. However, the Grosvenor project along with Capital of culture year, the arena etc etc will have a simillar effect. The people Liverpool needs to attract will spend very little or nothing in the 2 stores constantly mentioned and if they wanted the goods available could find them elsewhere. Who did Glasgow anchor their new shopping development adjacent to the opera house/ capital of culture year? John Lewis. Is anybody going to now proclaim Glasgow as a poor shopping destination? No, it is supposedly no2 in the uk. Does it have a selfredges or Harvey Nicks? No. It is no2 because of the amount of retail space occupied, most of which is merely duplicate stores that are in both Buchanon street and Sauchihall street.
What is Manchester's biggest draw for shoppers?

The one point that you make which is actually relevant and a sensible arguament in refernce to the big picture is about the hinterland, the trams and transport into the city.
In relation to this, many stores who would have been interested in the development WILL be waiting to see if it is a success as they will have had thier confidence knocked by the tram debacle.
Please try to keep your responses along these lines and away from the poor opinionated responses so popular with a few others on here.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 11:26 PM   #216
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Apologies for the double post (although I dont understand why - but it apparently matters....)
Agree with everything Blabber has said and didnt see it before responding to an earlier post.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 11:37 PM   #217
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Blabs i fnd myself in agreement with nearly all of what you have said....
which in itself is quite alarming!
That's becuase you are a reasonable man Busta. All I have done is apply reason, and there is simply no need or justification for the overt pesimism being voiced by others. Some of the out and out pessimists clearly have some sort of ulteria motive, perhaps a pathological urge to carp on endlessly, and will try to find any reason they can to justify it, no matter how bizarre.

Note how Poli claims that Grosvenor should have invested more in marketing and intangible strategies for attracting retailers. They have, he claims, spent far too much on buildings in a disastrous strategy. Ask him to provide figures and a source for his argument. Ask him how much Grosvenor have spent on the intangibles. He won't have an answer.

Boychild, I think you are returning to some matters that have been discussed, and already repeated earlier in the thread, so I will direct you that way rather than engage if you don't mind. But good points.

I do know that Liverpool's retail will improve massively as everything else in the city does. Once a holistic analysis is applied, and one that applies to the longer term (rather than right now) the pessimism becomes largely unjustified.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 11:52 PM   #218
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Note how Poli claims that Grosvenor should have invested more in marketing and intangible strategies for attracting retailers. They have, he claims, spent far too much on buildings in a disastrous strategy. Ask him to provide figures and a source for his argument. Ask him how much Grosvenor have spent on the intangibles. He won't have an answer.
How much have they spent on marketing? Not enough. We will know it's enough when they entice / bribe a few decent tenants to sign on the dotted line.

The contract between the city and Grosvenor must have been poorly negotiated if they can get away with this. Why spend a fortune on fancy premises and not get decent tenants in there?
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Old October 25th, 2007, 11:57 PM   #219
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QUOTE=liverpolitan;16099914]In the main, a very ignorant, naive and opinionated response that neither deals with my arguaments or actually moves this debate anywhere but into misinformed speculation.


No need to get your nappy in a twist, boychild.

As for being opinionated, well sorry - isn't this a place to express opinions?
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Old October 25th, 2007, 11:57 PM   #220
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How much have they spent on marketing? Not enough. We will know it's enough when they entice / bribe a few decent tenants to sign on the dotted line.

The contract between the city and Grosvenor must have been poorly negotiated if they can get away with this. Why spend a fortune on fancy premises and not get decent tenants in there?
Read up Poli.
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