As part of a project with Hugh Baird University Centre I took a look at New Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle
The Strand Shopping Centre opened in 1968 during an extensive Bootle redevelopment. In 2014 the centre was acquired by London based Ellandi, who announced plans to upgrade signage, improve accessibility and bring in new retailers. Under their tenure, they secured the return of anchor tenant TJ Hughes and reduced the vacancy rate to below 10% whilst increasing foot flow by 14%. Sefton Council purchased the centre in 2013 for £32.5m, citing the desire to protect local jobs and assist with a broader regional regeneration. The ‘Strand’ receives more than 115,000 visitors per week.
As a large shopping centre, imagery plays a significant part in their brand and the brands of their residents. They reinforce the concept of a busy, thriving area for customers and retailers that show choice, development, and potential. They often showcase the architect’s and developers designs to show the appeal of a retail store.
In 2020 many large commercial organisations, including the Strand were subject to national lockdowns as part of the global Coronavirus Epidemic. People changed the way they interacted with retail, meaning new approaches were needed. Some businesses chose to redesign their branding in addition to reproducing new photos for their websites and brochures.
My project took a look at how despite all the challenges, the shopping centre remained open supporting those businesses that could trade and those that couldn’t during lockdown.
I wanted to show that behind the large signs and clean corridors was a sometimes unseen team of hardworking operations and retail staff keeping the centre running even under the most challenging of conditions.
We frequently work on location across the northwest, often travelling between Liverpool, Manchester, Warrington and Cheshire. Visits to our studio at The Secret Warehouse are therefore strictly by appointment only.