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Can Pop-Up And Immersive Retail Save The West End?

Contemporary artist LUAP teamed up with Great Portland Estates for an art exhibition in a vacant retail unit.

Footfall in the West End of London is rising from pandemic lows, but landlords are still looking for innovative ways to entice visitors to their properties. Increasingly, they are turning to pop-up retail or immersive experiences to stand out from the crowd. Here are five concepts that West End and west London owners rolled out recently to give people a reason to come to the centre of London. 

Great Portland Estates — The Pink Bear

The LUAP and GPE collaboration at 95 New Bond Street.

REIT Great Portland Estates worked in partnership with British contemporary artist LUAP to curate a five-day exhibition based around LUAP’s signature motif, The Pink Bear, in one of its retail units at 95 New Bond Street. The life-sized teddy bear with magenta pink fur was represented through unseen photography, paintings, installations, sound and film during a five-day exhibition in October.

Westfield London — TikTok

A visualisation of Westfield's TikTok pop-up.

Shopping centre giant Westfield set up a 4K SF pop-up in its west London mall dedicated to video sharing platform TikTok in July and August. Creators from the platform with more than 100 million followers held demonstrations around food, sport and fashion in themed rooms. 

Cadogan Estate — Anya Hindmarch 

The Anya Hindmarch café in Belgravia.

In May this year, British fashion designer Anya Hindmarch launched an immersive concept on Pont Street, owned by the Cadogan Estate in Belgravia. The Village is made up of five units, including two stores selling the designer’s clothes, a café, "The Plastic Store" — a space focusing on ways to reduce plastic and cut consumption in fashion — and a "Village Hall" with rotating uses. 

The Crown Estate — The Regent Street Edit

The Regent Street Edit pop-up store.

Westminster City Council, The Crown Estate and New West End Company have launched a pop-up store at 88 Regent Street to showcase six brands founded in the local area that are championing sustainability. The Crown Estate has provided the dedicated space, working with the council and NWEC to create an opportunity for the independent brands to promote their products on one of the most famous shopping streets in the world.

Shaftesbury - Queen and the Rolling Stones

The Queen pop-up store on Carnaby Street.

West End specialist Shaftesbury has looked to the music world to draw visitors to Carnaby Street, its famous retail thoroughfare. Pop-up stores dedicated to world-famous bands Queen and the Rolling Stones opened this autumn.