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Electrical Set Up
Sports Direct Leicester
When British Home Stores closed its doors in 2016, the news media used it as yet another example of how the high street is in decline in this online-dominated world. Since it followed Comet, Woolworths, C&A, Barratts and many more, they did seem to have a point.
Not so fast, said quieter voices. Retail is really just in a period of change. The age of people relying solely on brick and mortar shops may well be over, but the opportunity to make retail into an experience, and to take the whole concept of shopping with it, should be embraced.
So when Leicester’s city centre BHS shut down, there was a large, four-storey empty space that could go one of two ways: disrepair or regeneration.
Enter Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley, who knew which way he wanted it to go. In 2017 he announced that the space would rise from the ashes. Let’s not forget that the city that was still in celebratory mood after winning the Premier League and going on something of an impressive Champions League run. Leicester was bouncing, and more good news was lapped up by an enthusiastic population.
The plan wasn’t simply to build a new Sports Direct. This would be a multi-occupant space that included Flannels, Everlast Gym, USC and Game, with state-of-the-art retail technology to make it a flagship of the Sports Direct brand.
Interior design would be taken to new levels, and with such innovations as interactive mirrors, it was clear that they would need a rock solid electrical setup. And that’s where McLennan came in.
We moved in straight away to perform preliminary electrical assessment and set up all the temporary lighting for the construction, along with bringing in other temporary supplies.
Among the first permanent tasks we had to perform was probably the most important: installing a full automatic fire alarm system combined with full automatic emergency lighting. This potentially life-saving installation had to meet critical standards and would protect construction workers, staff and customers long into the future.
Next up came the data cabling. The modern store cannot perform without this vital link between POS terminals, cash registers, stock control, security and all manner of other elements of modern retail, so not only did we have to get this right – it had to be future-proof, too.
The lighting of the store doesn’t just illuminate the products; it sets the whole mood. These large department-store type buildings can feel gloomy and unwelcoming without good lighting, so we worked closely with the interior designers to ensure their specifications were met. If you get the chance to visit this wonderful space, you’ll be struck by the quality of the lighting setup, and we’re proud to have contributed to it. External lighting came next, that all-important link with the outside world that plays such a key role in getting customers across the threshold, day and evening.
We also performed those essential tasks that go under the radar, such as installing last man out switches and small power and specialist safety system installations. We ran some operative training sessions, and had O&M and certification uploaded to our portal for easy access.
The new store is now open to the public, and it’s fair to say it’s had a fantastic effect on the city. It’s living proof that with investment, sensitivity and great products, if you build it, people will indeed come.
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