Have you visited Bromley recently? It’s like another planet.
I boarded the “rocket” train and within 16 minutes I was standing in the hub that is Bromley town centre.
Following the long, bustling and burgeoning High Street up to the Glades (Bromley’s stalwart shopping place previously owned by intu and still bearing bright orange flashes of inspiration) it was hard to believe that retail apparently is on its knees.
Entering the Glades by the main entrance you are hit again by more hustle and bustle. Glimmering floors and exciting shop windows beautifully presented (in the main) proudly promote their retailer’s wares; from Apple to Karen Millen to Hema to Zara to DFS. Two huge levels of shopping opportunity complemented with four levels of car parking to entice visitors from further afield and to make life easier for the locals.
It’s true to say that there are a couple of gaps left by the likes of Toys “R” Us, but these are already being eyed up by three potential suitors. Work is underway by four retailers on refurbishing their stores to adapt and change to the ever demanding consumer. Plus, Jack Wills is on his way. The Glades are even replacing their old lifts and with customers visiting up to three times a week they can keep a beady eye on the progress.
Hardly a tale of woe and empty stores; the complete opposite in fact.
Building on an impressive portfolio of occupiers, the team at the Glades work closely with the BIDs and the council who are investing heavily in the High Street, replacing the street furniture and paving as well as creating a brand new place for the weekly market traders.
At the same time the BIDs constantly work on creating new reasons to visit the town centre. One such initiative was over-subscribed last year and as a result is being repeated; an outdoor cinema season which is situated in the park next to the Glades with easy access to their F&B offering.
Currently Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is leading the customer vote but it might be pipped by The Rocky Horror Show. The choice is down to the community to vote for their favourite flick. I know which I’d vote for!
Given the constant demoralising and down-beat press reports of yet another occupier to hit the ropes, it really does feel like you’re on another planet in Bromley.
Planet Hope; it’s a tale of community engagement, putting the customer first, simple but brilliant retailing and above all an amazing example of our retail property and placemaking community working together as one.
It’s definitely not rocket science, but what I find amazing having headed up marketing for a number of retailers over the last 16 years, is that often they think it is. Simply put (don’t yawn), good retail is all about the right product, at the right price, presented correctly and promoted creatively; nothing more, nothing less.
The occupiers who are winning today, embrace this with passion, day in, day out, with great store and online operations that seamlessly blend in to one. It’s great to see Bromley brimming with energy and above all, a number of leading occupiers with more coming on board.
On this note and by the way, trains leave from Platform 4, London Victoria among other stations. Regularly. See it for yourself and book now to visit the final frontier. Well, Bromley. It’s another planet.
Thank you to Craig and the team at The Glades for an inspiring visit!
Head of Customer & Creative, Revo