Wetail

The high street has a habit of reinventing itself. When traditional demand has slackened previously, there have been new uses willing to stand in place, including banks, coffee shops and estate agents. So where might the next wave come from? If rumours are to be believed, it could be from the likes of serviced office operator WeWork. And, of course, this would be no surprise given the rate of diversification of their offer, having already done a deal with Lord & Taylor to acquire and lease back part of their Fifth Avenue store. The appeal to under-pressure UK department store operators, left with otherwise challenging upper floor space, is surely compelling. Flexible offices (more permeable than traditional offices) and retail are also good bedfellows. The former provides a ready stock of shoppers, whereas the latter provides day-round activity. The combination might feasibly become a new use class.