Innovative retail start-up Sook confirms first Scottish site at Edinburgh's St James Quarter and appeals to businesses with 'co-retail' vision

Award-winning retail start-up Sook Spaces has confirmed that it will be opening its first Scottish site at Edinburgh’s new shopping quarter on June 24, with its team now looking to appeal to local businesses with its ‘co-retail’ vision.

Sook's latest space on London's Oxford Street has seen shoppers queue for independent businesses despite the looming impact of the pandemic on British high streets.

After The Scotsman first reported earlier this year that it was in talks with the St James Quarter to close the deal on its first site in Scotland at the landmark development, it is now confirmed that Sook will be among the hotly anticipated brands opening their doors next month at the site.

Sook allows businesses to rent its spaces by the hour in shopping locations with high footfall, such as shopping centres and busy high streets, with a mixture of pop-up and weekly slots available for businesses keen to make a splash in busier locations.

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Most recently, Sook opened up its second London site in the heart of the city on Oxford Street – hoping to bring increased flexibility and novelty to a retail sector still struggling to bounce back following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

From cocktail making classes to chocolatiers, Sook spaces have featured a variety of sellers in their English locations.

Catering to a range of different businesses, from food and drink outlets, to fitness classes, to clothing pop-ups, Sook spaces offer adjustable shelving, lighting and digital display panels which can be altered to the specific needs of vendors.

Among the varied vendors previously seen at Sook spaces in England are art exhibitions, houseplant shops, yoga classes and even Depop clothes sellers looking to try and host mostly online or digital businesses in a physical setting on a cheaper, more sustainable basis.

The team behind Sook are now eager to hear from local businesses within and outside Edinburgh who might be looking for opportunities to host their businesses.

Simon Gallagher, chief operating officer at Sook, said: “We built Sook to reimagine access to physical space because we envision a world where every community has a place where anyone can thrive.

Independent clothing brands have been a major feature of Sook's spaces, with Depop sellers to online retailers sampling the physical retail environment in their sites.

"We strive to be the catalyst that empowers communities to grow together through creative concepts, adaptable spaces, and equal access to the streets.”

Mr Gallagher added: “In the hours considered non-prime for retail, we are encouraging activity led ventures supported by your own products, or, activity led businesses collaborating with retailers in order to drive engaged footfall to the space.

"It could mean running a cocktail making workshop one evening a week and perhaps collaborating with a food offering at the same time.

"The possibilities are endless really and creatively coming up with ideas of what to do in our spaces with founders is so exciting for us.”

To get in touch with Sook and find out more, visit their website at https://www.sook.space/.

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