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Manchester Retail Rethink: Forget Shops, Let's Have Exhibitions With A Glass Of Champagne

Reinventing the high street could mean turning shops into places that feel more like an exclusive private view in an art gallery. And it will come complete with a glass of champagne.

That is the plan for a 12K SF ground-floor and basement unit, previously a restaurant, at 100 King Street, Manchester.

The Hut Group, the beauty business that bought the hotel and restaurant block last year, has now disclosed its plans for the ground floor. 

It hopes to convert the basement, ground and mezzanine floors at 100 King Street from its last known lawful use as a restaurant (Use Class A3) to a premium retail destination (Use Class A1) that will provide an “immersive retail experience” to members of the public.

“It is proposed that the store will operate as an exhibition of key pieces and products from high-end brands; most likely to be beauty products, cosmetics, and luxury clothing. These items will be displayed on a number of free-standing, movable displays … As part of the proposed ‘immersive experience’, customers may be offered an alcoholic drink while they are shopping / viewing products (e.g. a glass of champagne served by a member of staff),” a planning document submitted to Manchester City Council said.

The aim, the document reveals, is not to provide food and drink, simply a refreshing glass of something to stimulate new thoughts.

100 King Street, Manchester

The retailer said potential customers can view and try products that are on display, and purchase either in-store or via The Hut Group app and website.

The former banking hall was converted into a Jamie’s Italian restaurant in 2010, but the business fell into administration in 2019.

The Hut Group acquired the space in June 2019 announcing it would create a “World of THG” contemporary retail and experiential marketing space. 

In January, nearby Trafford Council, advised by CBRE’s Investment Advisory team, part of CBRE Capital Advisors, provided a £70M debt facility to help finance the development of its new 300K SF headquarters at Manchester Airport.