Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City reveal breadth of new offerings as customers crave physical experience

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Hyundai’s premium brand Genesis makes it UK debut at Westfield London

Unibail-Rodamco Westfield (URW) announces a host of new retailer signings across leisure, dining, entertainment and fashion showcasing the breadth of offerings across the flagship destinations, which together attracted over 4.2 million visitors in the first month since reopening.

As Westfield’s recent How We Shop research report reveals, UK consumers are craving physical experiences in the retail space and with extra cash to spend as a result of lockdown saving, according to ONS, Europe’s two largest shopping centres continue to attract not only shoppers but new brands looking for physical spaces.

Due to launch late summer at Westfield London, Situ Live is an experiential retail destination which brings innovative products to life through immersive store design, live demonstrations, and expert storytelling. The 8,000 sqft venue will feature six curated theatres, including ‘Fitness & Wellbeing’, ‘Connected Home’, ‘Nutrition Kitchen’, ‘Entertainment’, ‘Home & Mobile Working’ and ‘On The Move’.

Hyundai’s premium brand Genesis makes it UK debut this summer with its only physical space at Westfield London. The predominantly online direct sales model will not offer traditional Genesis dealerships but instead, will launch with three physical “Genesis Studios” in Europe, including the Studio at Westfield London which will be the only location to browse and purchase the full Genesis range in the UK.

As the automobile sector continues to grow at Westfield centres, Brand Partnerships have also signed a three year space and media deal with UFO sustainable car rental brand. This includes six electric car parking bays, allocation of media (static and digital), co-marketing and retailer engagement, and experiential activations. Entirely using a smartphone app, customers can experience an incredible electric ride with the Tesla Model S or any other premium car from their 100% electric fleet.

Kurt Geiger’s Shoeaholics, originally an online offer with 12m online customers has branched out to physical retail including the recently launched 20,000 sqft store flagship store and the biggest in the UK at Westfield London.

New food and beverage outlets to open at the West London destination include Filipino ice cream concept Mamasons Dirty Ice Cream and Bindas Eatery on Westfield Square, which won Westfield’s restaurant entrepreneur competition in 2018, evidence of Westfield’s influence on the booming local foodie scene in the Capital.

At Westfield Stratford City, authentic Turkish restaurant and cocktail bar Lokma will open a 6,000 sqft offering on The Street this summer including an outdoor Shisha terrace, whilst the food courts will be enhanced with Hawaiian poke bowl restaurant Honi Poke, North Fish Restaurant, and the Lewis Hamilton-backed, new plant-based fast-food burger joint, Neat Burger.

As the centres continue to act as local hubs for the community, more health and wellbeing services will be offered. Following the launch of the Plasma Donor Centre and the Covid Vaccination Centre at Stratford City and the Testing Centre at Westfield London in 2020, the successful collaboration with the NHS continues with a second Vaccination centre launching at Stratford, and the recently opened Blood Donation space at Westfield London.

Kate Orwin, leasing director for Westfield UK & Italy, says: “With over 4m visitors through our doors since reopening last month, Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City continue to attract the best concepts and stores that our customers want. It’s exciting to see brands adapting in a new era through experiential retail, community, health initiatives and more and we look forward to welcoming over a dozen new brands in the coming months.

“However, after a challenging year for physical retail, we know it will be a tough journey ahead and what we need now, more than ever, is for Government to help get the industry back on its feet again by urgently reforming business rates. UK retailers pay the highest property-related taxes in Europe, approx. 45% of rent versus between 0.5% – 3% across the rest of Europe. The current business rates holiday is welcomed but needs to be extended in the short term, and in the medium term, we need to see meaningful reform that levels the playing field and allows British physical retail to thrive once again.”

Since the first lockdown in March 2020, Westfield centres globally have continued to attract major brands into the centres despite the uncertainty of the pandemic. Notable mentions at Westfield Stratford City include Huawei’s first ever flagship store in the UK and fashionwear brand 883 Police and e-gaming café Wanyoo – a 5,000 sqft experience led F&B offering. At Westfield London, athleisure brand Gym+Coffee made its debut along with Spa Ceylon. Fashion brands such as Polo Ralph Lauren Kids, Milano Couture and sustainable menswear brand SIRPLUS all opened in the final quarter of 2020. A five year deal with brand partner international vape brand Vuse also launched across both centres.

Brands signing in Q1 2021 across URW Europe and the US include Primark in Spain, Nike in Poland and Sweden, Lego in Poland and luxury brands YSL Saint Laurent and Hermes in the US, whilst Westfield mall of the Netherlands launched in March with a pre-letting of 92%, illustrating retailer demand for Flagship destinations despite the market context. Volkswagen Group brands – VW, Audi and Porsche launched the Mooncity E-mobility Store in Czech Republic. The Group also delivered the Fashion Pavilion and an upgraded Dining Experience in La Maquinista, Barcelona in March this year. The 10,200 sqm restructuring project was 99% pre-let at opening, attracting local independents in the F&B sector and upgrading the fashion offer with tenants like Urban Outfitters and Abercrombie.