• Home
  • News
  • Retail
  • Small businesses offered rent-free stores on Oxford Street

Small businesses offered rent-free stores on Oxford Street

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


Scroll down to read more


Oxford Circus Credits: New West End Company

A new project launched by Westminster City Council, in partnership with New West End Company, is offering small businesses rent-free shops on Oxford Street in London looking to offer “something unique” to boost the shopping area.

‘Meanwhile On: Oxford Street,’ builds on previous pilot schemes in the area offering short-term pop-up spaces and is looking for businesses to launch their first store or physical space. Selected brands will be given a prime store location for an initial six-month period, utilising locations previously taken up by “low quality occupiers” such as American candy stores.

Alongside offering rent-free spaces, the scheme will offer a 70 percent reduction in business rates, as well as store design, mentoring, management and marketing support from independent retail consultants, Someday Studios, and Westminster City Council.

Cllr Geoff Barraclough, cabinet member for planning and economic development, said in a statement: “The West End has recovered quickly from the pandemic but there are still too many vacant units and poor-quality occupants. That’s why we’ve set up 'Meanwhile On: Oxford Street' to help fill the gaps with upcoming brands showcasing their innovative new ideas.

“I am excited to welcome new brands to one of the most famous streets in Europe, and support them with free rent, reduced business rates and help with promoting their businesses.”

Westminster City Council and New West End Company launch new retail scheme to boost Oxford Street

The initiative is expected to support about 35 brands over three years, with the first opening in the autumn. It is looking for applications from “innovative and up-and-coming small businesses that can offer something unique to customers in terms of products, events, experience, or concept,” to Oxford Street.

Westminster Council adds that the businesses selected can use the space to bring their brand’s story to life, for example, through new technologies such as virtual or augmented reality, interactive exhibitions and in some cases, by bringing the production process to the customer by installing machines in store, opening visitor’s eyes to how clothes and other materials are made.

There will be a variety of store sizes on offer, and they can be used for single tenancy or as curated themed concept stores shared between multiple brands.

Dee Corsi, chief executive of New West End Company, added: The West End is internationally recognised as one of the world’s most iconic retail and leisure destinations. As a result, it has always been at the forefront for brands looking to engage with consumers in new and innovative ways – businesses that come here, do so to put their best foot forward.

“The addition of pioneering brands, through the Meanwhile On programme, is just one of many indicators of the district’s wider growth, and we look forward to welcoming the successful applicants to the area.”

New West End Company
Oxford Street
Westminster City Council