Flexible retail space operator to open in three new cities

Sook, the flexible pop-up space operator, is opening three new pop-up spaces in Leeds, Birmingham and Southampton on September 9. Sook is working with commercial property giants Hammerson and Rivington Hark to open the new spaces in premium shopping centres: Leeds Victoria Gate, Birmingham’s Bullring and Grand Central, and Southampton’s Westquay.

The openings have been driven by the demand from online-only companies looking for flexible retail space to drive brand awareness and meet their customers in person. To help support this demand, Sook is running a competition to give any SME business the opportunity to take over the new spaces for free.

John Hoyle, Sook founder, said: “We are excited to launch Sook in Leeds, Birmingham and Southampton. There has been a boom in online-only sellers in recent years – but many are now looking for ‘in real life’ opportunities where they can open a short-term physical store to help grow their business and meet customers without the expensive overheads. Our spaces offer everything these online retailers need and more, including modular furniture, digital screens and adjustable window displays to fully brand the space, so businesses can take over a Sook for a few hours, days, or weeks to suit their needs – and all they need to do is turn up with their products.”

Hoyle continues: “We couldn’t think of a better way to launch this new space than to create a competition, giving businesses across the UK the chance to test out our space for free, and to see how they can grow their business with a physical space.”

Sook provides individual unit management from beginning to end and has a dedicated sales team to ensure that the space is occupied by a rapid turnover of diverse independent brands with growth potential. It then uses footfall data, sentiment analysis and heatmap analytics bringing the power of online AB testing to the physical world supporting occupiers to make the most of their offline experience. Sook also operates multiple sites in London, Cambridge, Newcastle and Edinburgh, and is looking for more retail spaces across the country.

Hoyle adds: “The reality for landlords is that individual short-term arrangements are not efficient, and can be time consuming, often yielding minimal returns. But a fractional leasing model helps us provide occupiers with complete flexibility and we are therefore able to optimise the time we sell, providing landlords with a commercially competitive solution whilst delivering significant placement and CSR benefits.”

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024