Coal Drops Yard: a first class retail project in London

Today, London’s latest and highly-anticipated shopping and restaurant district in London’s King Cross, Coal Drops Yard, opens its doors to the public for the first time. Originally established in 1850 to handle the 8 million tonnes of coal delivered to London each year and repurposed in the early 90s as the location of nightclubs Bagley’s and The Cross, we witness today a new era in its placemaking journey as it becomes a hotspot for 50 one-of-a-kind concept stores.  It’s not the only new London-based project to bring consumers a range of ‘firsts’ though, as the O2’s ICON Outlet also opened to the public last Saturday, another important landmark which now plays host to a series of retailers making their outlet debuts, including Aspinal of London.


It has been well publicised that the pressure is mounting on retailers and landlords as they are struck by rising costs, dips in consumer spending and online competition. However, the age-old trick of ‘build it and they will come’ still applies in the fight to remedy this. We’re all told that the ‘it’ lies within offering consumers a unique experience – be that those ‘firsts’, a unique location, or a fusion between online and physical store – and they are right, however, it’s not the only option available for those who don’t have the luxury of the above.


A good marketing campaign can also assist in driving footfall to a flagging store or centre, and I’m not just talking about a complete rebrand.  For instance, we have seen successful initiatives such as a variation of carpool karaoke, the popular segment from TV host James Corden, be launched within a shopping centre as a means of recording a song on video that could then be shared on social media – raising awareness of the centre and driving further traffic to the site.  Another managing agent launched a competition for a new online-only brand to win a unit with a rent-free period within their centre, this was met with their online customer base being carried over to the physical, and adding an ‘it’ brand to their offer. From the retailer perspective, more can always be done to make your store more interesting, including introducing more lounge areas or pop-up collaborations to increase dwell time, or being innovative with visual merchandising to capture the customers’ attention as they pass by. The possibilities are endless here, you just have to get creative, and Innesco can help. Speak to one of our team to discuss your marketing campaign or project needs.

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