With the opening of the first UK flagship store for Microsoft today it brings into stark focus the need for retail spaces to be flexible both in terms of permitted use clauses and in terms of planning to support the evolving nature of how stores are used and experienced by the customer.
Retail is no longer just about the customer looking around a shop, deciding what they want and purchasing it. As Microsoft, and other major flagship stores are showing, it is about customer experience and technology plays a major part for all types of retailers. For example, the Microsoft store has a full sized McLaren sports car, which doubles as a Forza Motorsport 7 experience, a "Selfie Area" and (perhaps less glamorous) areas where they can host training and educational courses as well as promotional events.
All of this is not your typical A1 retail space. Obviously this is an extreme example but it is a taste of what retail spaces will need to become to keep the customers coming back to the bricks and mortar shops. Leases need to keep up with the changing nature of the use of retail space.
The 21,932sq ft flagship covers three floors and while it is Microsoft’s first physical bricks-and-mortar store in the UK, it’s only the third outside the US.