High street brands sign up for flagship hospital retail centre

Marks and Spencer, Costa Coffee and WHSmith among big names at Bristol Royal Infirmary's new Welcome Centre

Bid name brands have signed up to take space in the new Welcome Centre at the Bristol Royal Infirmary

Marks and Spencer, Costa Coffee and WHSmith have become the first major retailers to take space in the new £5m Welcome Centre at the Bristol Royal Infirmary.

When it opens in December 2013, the centre – one of the most innovative of its kind in the UK – will provide approximately 873sq m of modern retail space in an improved, glass-fronted entry point to the hospital that will also include enhanced wayfinding and reception services.

Capita Symonds has designed the centre and project managed the initial stages of its construction on behalf of University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UH Bristol). It also provided property advice to the trust, including running the marketing campaign to find and select suitable retailers for the space, as well as arranging for Costa Coffee and WHSmith kiosks to provide temporary services to staff and visitors while the construction works take place.

UH Bristol is also leasing retail space to a specialist hospital retailer, Stock Shop, which provides fashion clothing and accessories.

The Welcome Centre’s financial model, which has also been developed by Capita Symonds, is funded through the income derived from the retail operations to ensure that the full benefits of the scheme are retained by the trust and the community. The project is also the first in a series of hospital retail schemes which Capita Symonds is working on with various trusts across the UK.

Deborah Lee, director of strategic development at UH Bristol, said: “We are working with a range of retailers to offer a variety of outlets which are able to respond to the different needs of patients, visitors and staff whilst they are in our hospitals. The Welcome Centre will enable us to do this in an outstanding, welcoming and bright new setting.”

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