Brex-pansion

Brexit has not deterred prospects for the shopping centre industry, evident by the number of large-scale investments and developments ongoing across the country.

Last year, shopping centre owner, intu, completed their 400,000 sq ft retail and leisure expansion, costing £180m at intu Watford. The development will significantly increase the centre’s appeal to the catchment area and has attracted a strong mix of brands including Hugo Boss, Jack Wills, Debenhams, Hollywood Bowl and Cineworld to name a few! Since the Warner Bros Harry Potter studios opened, visitors from all over the world have been visiting the area and the centre has a fantastic opportunity to capitalise on this footfall. The development includes a new car park to entice shoppers who live further away and advertising campaigns have been implemented to pull in tourists!

The Waterloo International Terminal Retail Development will create 3 floors (equating to approximately 120,000 sq ft) of retail and leisure space – turning the UK’s busiest train station into a shopping destination in its own right. The station is also undergoing an £800m development, significantly improving the terminal and its Eurostar infrastructure into five new platforms. This development is a fantastic example of how retail is evolving. As consumer’s demand for convenience increases and shopping centres battle to increase footfall, transport hubs are quickly becoming retail destinations.

Last year, Westfield London opened the first phase of the 640,000 sq ft expansion. The £600m investment has significantly diversified the tenant mix, allowing the centre to appeal to a much wider demographic. Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield has also announced its plans to open a new venue and events space. The venue will sit within the Westfield London shopping centre, offering customers experiences alongside their shopping.

A new designer outlet centre in the East Midlands that aims to create more than 1,700 new jobs has been given planning approval. The developers, Oldrids & Downtown, are working in partnership with Grantham to develop the scheme. They have plans to build relationships with the local venues and tourist attractions to drive the economy in the area. In addition to the 107 individual outlet stores, the investment will support in creating a brand-new railway station, park & ride scheme, 2,000 space car park, visitor centre, training centre, offices, and a 22,560 sq ft leisure unit!

All of these developments are clear examples of the continued demand for space from retailers as well as consumers.

In very uncertain times for the future of the UK, the streams of investments going into developing and expanding existing schemes demonstrate the resilience of the market. It’s clear the sector is evolving; shopping centres are expanding and diversifying their offering, improving convenience for consumers and working with local venues and attractions to advance the experience.

Looking forward to what’s next to come…

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