COVID-19 : Free real estate helpdesk supporting London’s independent restaurant, retail & leisure businesses & landlords

08 04 20 retail

Colliers International today launched a free helpdesk to provide London’s independent restaurant, retail, and leisure companies with specialist real estate advice during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly those who may not have easy access to the high level professional advice available to the bigger firms.


The helpdesk will also offer guidance to landlords and will become a nationwide rollout following the London campaign. 

Josh Leon, Head of Central London Restaurants at Colliers International, commented: “Many of London’s defining and most loved businesses are small independents run by brave, passionate and driven entrepreneurs and many of these are now at great risk. These businesses do not have big cash reserves and the financial support on offer is proving hard to access.  It is a daily struggle for them.  Their landlords are facing difficult decisions too. We must do all we can to help this sector or the true cost to London is hard to imagine.  We hope that by offering to be on the end of the phone with some free professional guidance on some of these issues it might at least be helpful to some. The future of London’s global appeal and the speed with which we collectively bounce back as a city will depend on the steps entrepreneurs and landlords take now.”

The Colliers’ panel of property experts will be on hand daily to provide support to occupiers and landlords, helping them to look at their options and offer property-related guidance where possible. 

The helpdesk’s experts aim to answer questions in the following areas:

  • General property strategy
  • Lease and rent renegotiations
  • Insolvency and restructuring
  • Business rates
  • Deferring or cancelling payments
  • Debt advice and Government assistance schemes
Colliers’ Co-Head of Retail, Paul Souber added: “With the enforced (non-essential) shop closures the retail industry is facing an unprecedented challenge, unlike any other in living memory.

“Customers are the oxygen of a store and without them, retailers can’t survive so it’s vital that we protect this industry to prevent the collapse of the sector altogether. Swift and drastic action to support the whole eco system of suppliers, retailers and landlords, is required.”


For further information about Colliers’ helpdesk and to receive advice, click here, fill out the brief form on the website and the team will respond swiftly with a call back or invitation to join a group discussion. 

View the helpdesk here


Related Experts

Josh Leon

Director | Head of Central London Restaurants

London - West End

Josh Leon leads the restaurant specialism within the Central London Agency Team. He is a hugely experienced agent, broker and advisor with over 16 years of experience in this niche sector.  He advises many of London’s leading developers, estates and fund managers on converting, developing and curating property for Food and Drink use. His familiarity with technical, planning and licensing matters and his ambitious and visionary approach to tenant mix strategy are sought after by developers in the early phases of a project, but his main point of difference is his connectivity - the relationships he has within and around the restaurant business and the direct access he has to a wide range of high profile and successful operators both in London and globally.

Josh advises many of the world’s top restaurateurs on their expansion or disposal options in London and brokers deals on their behalf. He is retained by the Crown Estate to advise on the Food and Drink offer in their flagship mixed use development in St James’s, London.

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Paul Souber

Head of Retail Agency London and Co Head EMEA Retail

London - West End

Paul Souber is a highly experienced London retail property expert, and has a particular specialism in the luxury sector.

He advises major London landlords – including The Crown Estate, Grosvenor, The Church Commissioners and Shaftesbury Plc – on how their retail holdings in the capital can be enhanced through leasing and placemaking.

His consultancy also involves advising various leading brands on their property strategy and sourcing the stores which best serve their strategic needs.

During a career in which he has advised on the leasing of more than 1.5m sq. ft. of shopping space, Paul has worked with clients including Yves St Laurent, Roksanda Ilincic, Gina Shoes, Balenciaga, Oliver Bonas, Boux Avenue, Sweaty Betty and Headmasters.

He is Head of London Retail Agency and Co Head of the EMEA Retail Team at Colliers International

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Hannah Zitren

PR Manager

London - West End

Currently on maternity leave.

As PR manger in the UK, I am responsible for media relations and generating coverage in top tier media. I work across a range of Colliers’ UK & Pan-EMEA business lines (residential; licensed and leisure; planning; hotels; retail; healthcare and automotive) advising on their strategic and tactical PR needs.

My role includes:

·         Developing and executing PR plans for the various business lines to help promote their key messages across all aspects of the media - print, broadcast and social.

·          Media evaluation and reporting objectives, targets and successes across the business.

·         Reputation management and crisis management.

·         Media training.

·         Media engagement: setting up meetings with top tier media and various internal spokespeople to continuously expand and build a presence with property and vertical media network.

·         Consistently delivering service excellence, meeting with business heads of a regular basis and trying to influence the research as much as possible to ensure our content has a strong enough news hook.

·         Key campaigns that I work on include MIPIM; MAPIC; REVO; Midsummer Retail Report; IHIF; Cities of Influence in addition to a host of all alternative property sector research reports.

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