Corporate changes at Debenhams and House of Fraser appear to have given new impetus to the department store chains' acquisitions programmes with a string of pre-lettings at schemes across the country.
Irish developer Treasury Holdings has bought London's Battersea Power Station from Parkview International in a £400m deal. The deal was structured through London-listed company Real Estate Opportunities, but Treasury will have a majority stake in the project, which includes 600,000 sq ft of retail.
The latest reader poll on [http://www.shopping-centre.co.uk] was: "Will Christmas trade this year be up or down on 2005?"
Henderson Global Investors and Land Securities have submitted preliminary proposals to Glasgow City Council for a major expansion to Glasgow's Buchanan Galleries shopping centre that could see it transformed into a million-sq ft retail destination.
Bhs has been confirmed as a second anchor store to Modus' 450,000 sq ft Delamere Place development in Crewe town centre. The signing of the 40,000 sq ft Bhs follows a 95,000 sq ft letting to Debenhams earlier this year.
Lend Lease has secured a resolution to grant planning permission from Dartford Borough Council to extend Bluewater with a 56,000 sq ft exhibition and events venue. Construction is expected to start in mid 2007, with a completion in late 2008.
Gap is to open its first Irish factory outlet store at The Outlet at Bridgewater Park in Banbridge, Northern Ireland. The US fashion brand will be the centre's fourth anchor tenant alongside Marks & Spencer, Nike and Armani stockist the Designer Studio. Gap will be positioned in 9,348 sq ft at the west entrance of the scheme.
Fashion footwear brand Ravel has opened its first Irish outlet store at the Junction One scheme in Antrim. Other new names recently opened at Junction One include Whittard of Chelsea and mobile phone operator Citiphone. Further stores are currently planning pre-Xmas openings including fashion retailer Double Two and DVD retailer Director's Cut.
As we end 2006, the latest figures from the British Property Federation and IPD, the International Property Databank, suggest once again that retail leases continue to shorten.
The Barker review has received a cautious welcome from the property and retail industries. It is a wide-ranging document running to almost 200 pages, but among its key recommendations are:
I went to Bluewater on Saturday, with the other half, and spent £80. Not spectacular really, given the range and choice of shops and retail offers. The difference however, is that this was in one restaurant!
Land Securities' Cardinal Place was a surprise winner in the BCSC Gold awards last week, but no less worthy for all that.
Buying presents is not always the easist job in the world so if all you can think to buy Aunty Rose is handkerchiefs and Uncle Fred some socks, then you may get some inspiration from Hawkin's Bazaar.
Sustainability is moving fast up the agenda for the shopping centre industry, and Old Mutual's annual round table at the Mapic convention in Cannes showed that this is far from being a UK-only phenomenon.
Aesthetic improvements are usually top priority when refurbishing a shopping centre car park.
The day-to-day running of a car park is of huge importance in a shopping centre environment, but whether a centre operates it in-house, hands over the management to an external parking operator, or leases the whole car park out to parking experts, is a decision that a lot of schemes have to take.
Having two other shopping centres within 500m of your front door is not something that many town and city centre schemes have to deal with, but for Queen's Arcade in Cardiff this is a challenge that has not been difficult to overcome.
As people-counting becomes increasingly important to shopping centre owners, systems are becoming more sophisticated and far-reaching.
Counting systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated, with advances in technology and an increased knowledge of the benefits in installing these systems, enabling centre managers to learn even more about their customers.
A revolution is taking place underfoot in shopping centres across the UK. Floors are getting the designer treatment - with vibrant colours and different textures on the specifiers' shopping lists.
As with all major construction sectors, shopping centres have individual lighting design requirements. Knowing what to choose and how to use technology to make the building work effectively are the key contributions of an experienced lighting design professional.
Signage used and designed effectively can have a major impact on shoppers' movements and their overall enjoyment of a shopping experience.
== The Paisley Centre: Mall Promotion of the Year, sponsored by Promotion Space ==
UK retail sales in November 2006 were up 0.5 per cent like-for-like, compared with November 2005, when sales were still affected by the July bombings in London. Food sales continued to drive overall sales. Clothing and footwear sales were hit hard by the mild weather. Furniture and big-ticket homewares remained below year-earlier levels and house textiles and smaller home accessories also slowed. However, the mild weather has led to a slow start to Christmas trade. Consumer pessimism continues to affect trade in big-ticket and discretionary items.
Although the latest figures from FootFall indicate another month-on-month improvement in retail footfall levels throughout November, with a 4.7 per cent rise, they represent the worst build-up on record for the immediate pre-Christmas period. As this underlying trend continues, it is a real concern for retailers who are failing to ignite the usual demand from consumers.
CSC's MetroCentre has regained the crown as the UK's number one mall in the 2006 shopping centre rankings published by Trevor Wood Associates and Savills.
KNIGHT FRANK has appointed three new partners to its retail team in London. ANDREW SMITH and BEN TYACK join from Savills where they're part of its in-town retail team. And CALUM EWING will join from Atisreal where he is an associate director leading its retail & leisure agency team.
Jason King, centre manager at West 12 in London's Shepherd's Bush, dressed in a Bond-esque tuxedo and posed with a Halle Berry lookalike for an exclusive charity premiere of Casino Royale at the centre's Vue cinema.
Cardinal Place, Land Securities' £200m mixed-use development at Victoria in London, has won the supreme award at the BCSC Golds held at London's Grosvenor House.
Propinvest has invested in a hi-tech alternative to the traditional grotto this year with a 'fly on the wall' exposé of Father Christmas called 'Big Daddy.'