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Pop-up shop firm Sook heading to Edinburgh

St James Quarter

St James: opening this year

A retail property business which rents out space to pop-up shops by the hour is believed to be in talks with Edinburgh’s £1bn St James Quarter development.

Sook, which operates in London and Cambridge, offers retailers the chance to take space in some of Britain’s most popular retail locations, without committing to long-term costs.

With the high street facing considerable challenges following repeated lockdowns, it is likely that similar short-term endeavours will gain popularity.

Sook has taken space in areas such as Oxford Street in London and The Grafton shopping centre in Cambridge. It is now in discussions over an Edinburgh facility.

It is understood that the business is in negotiations with St James Quarter to host a space and is seeking a manager.

The centre has launched a recruitment drive for 450 retail and hospitality jobs ahead of the St James Quarter opening this year.

From the Sook website

Sook is a tech-enabled enterprise that aims to expand the use of retail units across the UK by making them available for direct-to-consumer brands and provide access for startups, students, artists and artisans to showcase their products and ideas. It is regarded as a potential solution to the current stock of empty units.

Recently appointed sales and marketing director Ian Reid said on the firm’s website that it has been able to get a business operating within 72 hours of an initial enquiry.

On his LinkedIn page he said: “There’s never been a more poignant time to change the way we utilise retail space.

“Against a backdrop of impractical rental terms and rising business rates, we offer businesses (big or startup) the freedom to occupy fully customisable, prime High Street locations without the pressure of unattainable costs.

“Sook provides non-committal retail opportunities and brand exposure, allowing businesses to physically engage with customers at a time and price that suits them. No hidden charges, no extra fees, just an innovative solution to renting physical spaces.”

In a blog on the company’s website he wrote: “We’re resolute in our drive and belief that this is where the future of retail space utilisation is heading.

“Not in the fact that all spaces will, or should transform into agile, adaptable pods… but by creating a provision on our high streets that facilitates diversity, accessibility and opportunity for more businesses, big and small.”

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