Empty Shops On Oxford Street Will Be Given To Startups & Creatives Rent-Free

By Martha Davies

10 months ago

Oxford Street is getting a makeover

Here’s your daily dose of good news: Oxford Street is getting a revamp, and it’s all in support of startups, entrepreneurs and creatives. Over the next three years, retail spaces will be handed over to tenants who can really make a difference – and they won’t have to pay any rent. Sound intriguing? We’ve got all the details.

Empty Shops On Oxford Street Will Be Given To Startups & Creatives Rent-Free

Even on the bleakest English day, the towering façades of Oxford Street’s shops glitter with promise. Soon, however, the retail giants lining this famous London street will be welcoming new neighbours: startups, creatives, entrepreneurs and the buzziest emerging brands.

This bright future is all thanks to the New West End Company and the placemaking consultancy firm Someday Studios, who have been appointed by Westminster City Council to transform Oxford Street by opening up super prime, rent-free stores to the most inspiring new businesses. 

How Does The Scheme Work?

Entitled ‘Meanwhile On: Oxford Street’, the scheme encourages up-and-coming brands and small businesses to showcase their products and share their vision, while helping to bring Oxford Street back to life. From interactive exhibitions to virtual reality, every brand will have the chance to tell their story in a new, thrilling way.

Each store – boasting an enviable Oxford Street postcode – will be allotted to a company for around six months, completely rent-free. Companies may receive single occupancy, or they may be invited to form part of a curated concept store showcasing multiple brands. They can expect a minimum 70% discount on business rates, design support from expert store design partners, and full PR, marketing and management support from Someday Studios and Westminster City Council.

How Are Companies Selected For The Scheme?

The project is focused on startups and small businesses providing a unique product or concept for Oxford Street’s audience and looking to launch in a physical space. Companies should also have the potential to operate independently in a long-term store once the project is complete.

Sustainability is another key focus: every company must be able to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and illustrate its role within their business model.

Westminster City Council has issued a callout to companies wishing to participate in the scheme. Applications can be submitted on the City of Westminster website, and the initial deadline is 12pm on Wednesday, 30 August 2023. 

So, if you’re bored of Oxford Street’s boarded-up units and lifeless candy shops, you’re in luck: change is most definitely coming.