Fenwick, Newcastle: revitalising a north-east giant

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Fenwick, Newcastle: revitalising a north-east giant

Anyone who has lived in Newcastle will tell you that Fenwick is as synonymous with the north-east city as St. James’ Park, Digital and The Cumberland Arms (yes, in case you hadn’t guessed, I lived there as a student). Located at the heart of the city on Northumberland Street is the original department store in its 11-strong (soon-to-be 12) portfolio, famous for its luxurious products, enormous Wine Shop (showcasing the largest selection of wine in the North East) and irrepressibly extravagant Christmas window.

The store itself is hugely successful but, in spite of this invaluable piece of retail at its core, Newcastle is not the thriving retail destination you might expect – in fact, it’s placed just 11th in the UK outside of the West End[1]. The city’s retail market is hugely diverse, but does not attract the numerous major international brands as seen in Leeds and Manchester –  brands that the city centre both needs and deserves.

It was therefore fantastic to see Fenwick’s announcement earlier this year that it is revamping its iconic Food Hall. By diversifying the F&B outlets and playing on the strength of its Wine Shop brand by introducing a wine and charcuterie bar, the department store is recognising the importance of providing a complete shopping experience – leisure and all – of the highest quality. It’s a trend that looks set to expand across the city, with Intu announcing a new dining area in the neighbouring intu Eldon Square in May.

At Innesco, we’ve seen a clear correlation between excellent leisure offer and an increase in sales for surrounding retailers, through our work with Land Securities (Trinity Leeds and White Rose Shopping Centre) and Unibail-Rodamco (The Dining Experience and Fresh!). This is exactly the sort of innovation injection that will boost the Newcastle retail market.

The new Food Hall opens next month, although I’d recommend timing a visit with the unveiling of the Christmas window display in early November to experience a unique take on Newcastle retail; tradition meets tomorrow.

[1] Javelin Group, VENUESCORE 2014-15

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