The last time I visited the Mailbox was in February this year. It was a building site and I took along the EG TV cameras for an early sneaky peek.
Since then the £50m revamped scheme has opened, anchored by a new concept Harvey Nichols store and with a new, luxurious, Urban Room on the upper floor which is now home to retailers including BOSS, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Gieves & Hawkes, LK Bennett and Daniel Footwear.
The internal space is impressive. Much warmer and less windy now it has a snug new roof on top of it and the 40,000 sq ft new Harvey Nicholls store is definitely a boon for the scheme and for Birmingham.
And it appears it has been trading well as Mailbox head of retail and tenant liaison David Pardoe, says that footfall has tripled since the store’s opening this summer.
As for the former, smaller Harvey Nicks unit located at the prime spot to the front of the scheme, Pardoe confirms the Mailbox didn’t get this unit back from the retailer until September and no new letting has yet been done. However, the former Amani Exchange store, also at the front of the scheme will now become a leisure unit hosting a food and beverage tenant on both floors. A tenant is yet to be found.
A tour around the new Everyman Cinema towards the rear of the scheme was a delight. The upmarket boutique brand has helped pull in a whole new range of customers, which has also buoyed the existing restaurant and bar operators, such as Cote, who have seen a 12-15% increase on year-on-year sales since the revamped scheme opened at the end of September, according to Pardoe.
I was however, struck by the amount of retail voids that still remain within the scheme. It definitely feels only half full, especially on the ground floor level. Pardoe puts this down to only having a soft launch at the moment, with the official opening due in Spring 2016.
Armani Collezioni and Jaeger are set to open at the Mailbox in early 2016 alongside Kitchen Gallery and a number of other retail, food and beverage brands, while the Ramada hotel is to take a leaf out of the neighbouring Malmaison hotel’s book and will benefit from a refurbishment and possible rebrand.