Time Out proves publishers can be landlords too as it secures ‘clicks and mortar’ location for its first UK market
Time Out Group has signed a lease for a 19,250sqft space in London’s Shoreditch, where it will open its first permanent UK marketplace in the latter half of 2017.
Time Out opened a market in Lisbon in 2014
The Time Out Market will house a 450-person seating area, 17 restaurants, four bars, a shop, an art gallery and a cooking academy. The majority of its tenants will be provided with facilities, equipment and support services in exchange for a revenue share, while the group will directly manage the bars, and the group believes the market will support local business and bring employment opportunities to the local area.
The publisher already operates a marketplace in Lisbon and has plans to open up additional sites in New York and Miami. The Portuguese outlet has been in business since 2014, and in the first six months of 2016 reported footfall of 1.3 million.
The introduction of global Time Out Markets is key to the group’s IPO strategy, which was announced in June. The company, which endured a rather lacklustre start to trading, hopes the physical hotspots will expand its international presence and raise the profile of its brand.
“It is very important to have physically what we have digitally – clicks and mortar,” said Julio Bruno, chief executive of the Time Out Group. “You have clicks to the website and you have the mortar of the physical – and this is not a pop-up market.”
He added that from a commercial perspective, the concept is a no-brainer simply because it is “profitable”; additionally, the Lisbon market reported year-on-year pro forma revenue growth of 106%. “It makes economic sense and our investors have supported the idea,” he said.
The Shoreditch location was decided upon after “several months” of venue sourcing. The decision to set up base in east London is an interesting one: while the area is certainly culturally vibrant, Time Out will be competing for customers alongside established food and retail destinations such as Old Spitalfields Market, Boxpark and London Union’s street food hotchpotch, Dinerama.
Bruno responded: “What we offer is curation. It’s very unique because we choose who we want to have in the market…the best fish, the best chicken, the best music - we choose all that. And we are very active in our community of users, asking them: ‘Who do you think we should have [in the market]?’”
More markets are on the cards internationally, although Bruno explained the business is wary of “overextending ourselves” with the physical opportunity, hence the two-year gap between Lisbon’s launch and London’s.
“We want each [market] to capture the soul of the city under one roof, which is exactly what Time Out has done in a publishing format for 48 years,” he said.