Big Box Leisure evolves again – can it also save our retail spaces?


Wednesday 15th June 2022
Big Box Leisure evolves again – can it also save our retail spaces?


Memery Crystal

Sponsored by

Memery Crystal


Wednesday 15th June 2022


5:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Henrietta House Henrietta Place London W1G 0NB

This event is generously hosted by longstanding members of
The Leisure Property Forum, CBRE

The LPF welcomes Revo members to this event

Date: Wednesday 15th June 2022 from 5.00pm – 7.00pm.

Venue: CBRE, Henrietta House, Henrietta Place, London W1G 0NB

The seminar provides 1.5 hour of professional CPD.

The biggest leisure operators are increasingly taking larger units and many are expanding their portfolios quickly, as we move out of the pandemic.

New formats are emerging that work for families as well as adults, and many are linked to well-known entertainment brands working with their intellectual property. Many do not focus on one experience but create a multi-activity offer. Many existing brands are diversifying their offer adding in other activities to attract customers.

Many of these operators are moving into major void retail spaces such as ex Debenhams sites and Toys R’ Us units providing landlords and local authorities with welcome new occupiers for these critical retail spaces in shopping centres and retail warehouse parks. They are helping these landlords greatly reduce their void levels –  but is their introduction enough to turn around a location?

The sector has seen large formats emerge before with varying levels of success. Is this time going to be different and will these operators provide the future of anchor units for retail and leisure schemes alike?

Our Chair for this event is Rachel Belam, Head of Food & Beverage and Leisure Leasing at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield

Nigel Costain, Senior Director at CBRE, will present on the state of the market and innovations occurring in this sector.

We will then have presentations from leading operators in this sector showcasing their formats and requirements. These presentations will cover their brands, customer offer, fit-out and expansion plans.

Finally, the panel will have a moderated discussion about the opportunities and challenges that such new operations create, and debate the future and longevity of the trends and offers that the market is currently experiencing.

There will be drinks afterwards, courtesy of our generous hosts CBRE to enable members and attendees to network.

Our Panel:

Chair – Rachel Belam, Head of Food & Beverage and Leisure Leasing at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield

Rachel has led Food and Beverage leasing at URW UK since 2006.  Having joined Westfield with a background in leisure, restaurants and 5 star hotels, Rachel established a new approach to F&B in a shopping destination environment. After delivering the F&B leasing strategy for both major developments in the UK; London and Stratford, she joined the US division, to work on the launch of Westfield World Trade Center.

Returning to the UK in 2016, Rachel devised and delivered the F&B strategy for the £600m Westfield London expansion as well as the redevelopment of the food court in 2018. As the desire for customer experience and engagement has grown, Rachel’s role has expanded
to encompass leisure including competitive socialising, family entertainment and immersive experiences.

Nigel Costain – Senior Director at CBRE

Nigel is a senior, experienced expert in the Retail, Leisure and Restaurant sector advising owners, purchasers and occupiers in relation to developments, acquisitions and disposals across Europe.

Nigel specialises in major mixed-use schemes city centre schemes, focussing on how an innovative retail, leisure and restaurant strategy can create places people prefer. As head of the CBRE restaurant & Leisure team, Nigel co-ordinates wider leisure and cinema advice in the investment and occupation markets, and has been responsible for the tenant mix strategy, marketing and leasing of major mixed use centres in UK.

Michael Harrison – Co-Founder & COO at Gravity

Michael Harrison is co-founder and COO of Gravity Active Entertainment. Having worked in the family leisure business since the age of ten, Michael has overseen the development and growth of the Gravity brand from a single site in Castleford to a multi-site operation covering the UK, Europe and the Middle East.

A passionate leader and advocate of reinventing the high street to make it fit for purpose as we emerge out of the pandemic, Michael has continued to push the boundaries of what excellence in leisure looks like, as customers’ habits and needs change in the sector.

The future for Gravity includes supersites in some of the world’s most desirable locations and malls, giving people a renewed reason to visit.

TJ Hart – Site Search Manager at Merlin Entertainments

TJ is responsible for Merlin’s Midway expansion across European territories, focussing upon their SEA LIFE, Madame Tussauds, LEGOLAND Discovery Centre and Peppa Pig World of Play brands.

He works with a wide range of stakeholders, notably commercial landlords, government / municipality organisations, tourist agencies – to identify locations which meet brand & Merlin requirements.

Stephen Burns – Chief Executive Officer at Hollywood Bowl Group Plc

Stephen joined the Hollywood Bowl Group as Business Development Director in 2011. He became Chief Executive Officer in 2014. Before joining the Group, Stephen worked within the health and fitness industry, holding various roles within Cannons Health and Fitness Limited from 1999.


Registration from 4.30pm

Intro and Speaker presentations from 5pm

Q&A with our panel from 5.45pm

The event will start promptly at 5pm

This event is sponsored by the real estate team at longstanding LPF members law firm Memery Crystal.

*Please note – our panelists confirm their availability in advance. If any of our panelists cancel due to unforeseen circumstances, we will use our best efforts to replace them, but cannot guarantee that all advertised panelists will always be in attendance.

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