Food retailer Netto might be well established in the UK, having first opened its doors in 1990 and grown to 180 stores, but this is not stopping the company from undergoing a radical overhaul that will see it move away from its 'hard discounter' purely price-led positioning to that of a more mainstream supermarket.

Shopping centre values have fallen as the investment market comes to terms with the credit crunch. From now on performance will be largely driven by income growth, and managers will have to show their true worth to maximise the asset. So, how does a management team help to create value when there is a downturn in the market?

Two developers have emerged as the front runners to develop Arnotts' E700m Northern Quarter scheme on the northern side of Dublin city centre. Sean Mulryan's Ballymore appears to be the most likely Irish based developer for the project, while the other developer leading the race is UK-based urban regeneration specialist Centros Miller. Treasury Holdings is a dark horse possibility.

Kilcock, Co Kildare, could experience substantial retail-led regeneration if plans by two rival developers come to fruition.

Dunnes Stores has signed up for the 6,000-sq m anchor store at the Tipp Town shopping centre in Tipperary.

Florentine Properties, a consortium headed by Sean Mulryan's Ballymore, has submitted revised design proposals for the Florentine Centre in the heart of Bray, Co Wicklow.

Irish based accessories retailer Pulse Accessories is stepping up its acquisition programme, with plans to open at least another 30 stores by the end of 2007 on top of its existing 12 outlets.

A controversial E40m scheme in the centre of Clonmel, Co Tipperary, has received overwhelming local support. A poll commissioned by the developer, the BORC Partnership, found only one per cent of local residents against its plans for a substantial shopping centre, a multi-storey car park with up to 500 spaces and an hotel on the Clonmel Arms Hotel site.

An Bord Pleanala has turned down plans for a E35m retail development in Donegal town in south Co Donegal. Bennett Construction had already secured Dunnes Stores as anchor tenant.

Coast is the latest retailer to sign a pre-letting at Multi Development's Victoria Square development in Belfast. The rapidly expanding fashion brand will take a 2,200 sq ft store situated on the lower ground floor of the 800,000-sq ft development, next door to Lunn's Jewellers.

Treasury's John Ronan

The dynamic duo behind Dublin-based Treasury Holdings, Richard Barrett and John Ronan, have a raft of plans lined up for development in Ireland, including much retail.

Athlone Town centre

During this year and next, many new shopping centres and extensions to existing schemes will open. The pace of retail park openings may have slowed dramatically, with less than a dozen planned for 2007 in locations such as Ashbourne, Killarney, Midleton, Navan, New Ross, Tallaght and Thurles, however, the pace of shopping centre openings remains at full force.

Tesco Ireland is the lead player in the Republic's retail grocery market, ahead of Dunnes Stores; but it is experiencing its fastest growth in non-food items. The company's financial year concludes at the end of February and the next set of results will probably show its turnover has shot up to about E2.6bn. Its own brand portfolio accounts for 32 per cent of turnover. It is highly profitable and doesn't have to worry about the Dublin-based Competition Authority, so Ireland is proving a very worthwhile investment.

With only weeks to go until its Easter opening, GML Estates and Land Securities are putting the finishing touches to The Outlet, their 205,000 sq ft mall at Bridgewater Park in Banbridge, Co Down.

This year's SCEPTRE Awards, rewarding the best practice and the best people in the UK and Ireland shopping centre industry, are bigger and better than ever.

Foyleside shopping centre in Derry has won one of the Allianz Arts & Business Awards at a glittering awards ceremony in the Tile Refinery Gallery, Belfast.

Belfast's independent shops and eateries have been listed in the new booklet, Belfast Loves Shopping.

A new survey has revealed the majority of Irish online shoppers are women and aged between 30 and 50. The survey, from DCU, showed 70 per cent of shoppers are female, while 65 per cent are aged between 30 and 50.

Dublin has a long standing class differentiation between the north and the south of the city - the southern part is posh, but the northern part isn't. Now, Dublin City Council has proved the point by finding that Henry Street has twice as much gum deposited as Grafton Street.

John Lewis has agreed to anchor Grosvenor's 1.6m-sq ft Tithebarn project in Preston with a new full line department store. The news will provide a welcome boost to the massive regeneration project, which has been slow to get off the starting blocks.

Six developers have been shortlisted by Taunton Deane District Council for the retail-led redevelopment of the 6.7-ha Firepool site in the town centre. The brownfield site is currently occupied by a livestock market and car park

The latest reader poll at [http://www.shopping-centre.co.uk] was: "will shopping centre investment turnover in 2007 beat 2006's £7bn? 65 per cent said "yes" and 35 per cent said "no"

Hammerson and Town Centre Securities' plans to regenerate a major site in the centre of Leeds with a million-sq ft retail-led scheme have taken a step forward. Leeds City Council has passed a resolution to grant outline planning permission for the development.

This month sees the launch of the world's first dedicated shopping centre audit and benchmarking company.

Lend Lease's £120m extension and refurbishment at Golden Square in Warrington will miss its projected opening date, the company has admitted.

Marks & Spencer is in talks to take the second anchor store at Centros Miller's Northern Quarter scheme in Portsmouth. John Lewis is already committed to the £350m scheme.

Land Securities and Beacon Capital Partners have called a halt to their joint venture agreement on the 560,000-sq ft retail and office development at One New Change, in the City of London.

Stockland has become the fourth major Australian player to enter the UK shopping centre market with the £215m purchase of Halladale. Founded in 1991 by David Lockhart, AIM-listed Halladale has approaching £1bn of property assets under management and development, with a substantial portfolio of shopping centres and retail parks.

Five years after opening, Touchwood in Solihull is now a mature centre. The 650,000-sq ft retail and leisure scheme has become well-established in the West Midlands retail scene, and since opening it has pushed the town up from sixth to third in the regional hierarchy.

Recent research commissioned by the BCSC has expressed concern over the threatened economic future of the UK's small and medium-sized towns. After 10 years of 'town centre first' planning policies, only 35 per cent of new retail space in England is being built in town centres, according to the research report,

A client phones to say, "We're selling one of our shopping centres, but don't worry, we complete in three weeks, so you have plenty of time...and by the way, your services may no longer be required!"

Have they fitted a revolving door at Heathrow? One Australian owner, Stockland, is arriving in the UK just as another, Multiplex, looks likely to be taken out.

I was keen to show one of my colleagues the Brunswick Centre in Bloomsbury, the new Allied London mixed-use development, which contains a range of foodservice operations including Carluccio's, Strada and Giraffe, in addition to a Waitrose supermarket and retailers such as Hobbs, Coast and LK Bennett.

The unique product that Ann Summers brings to the shopping arena has helped to ensure the retailer continues to benefit from profit increases despite difficult trading conditions.

The BRC is mounting a major campaign on retail crime - highlighting £2.1bn of stock losses every year though the front door of the shop as well as further back in the supply chain. And the recent mail bomb campaign shows that, today, terrorism comes in many guises.

While the major regional centres such as Cardiff, Liverpool and Manchester have led the way when it comes to urban regeneration, the challenge for developers has now moved down to the next tier of towns.

While corporate social responsibilty is a relatively new subject to be pushed forward by the BCSC, it is a key issue that has been on the lips of staff at Crystal Peaks for years.

Christmas is make or break time for retailers. Every year the key trading period is a white-knuckle ride for hard-pressed traders. "Will the shoppers turn out?" they ask. "Will we have to go on Sale in mid-December or hold out to January to protect our margins?"

Each year in January, thecentre:mk in Milton Keynes commissions the build of its next Christmas show.

Shopping centre owners and managers are being urged to work in partnership with their tenants in order to reduce energy emissions and increase levels of recycling.

== ? BRACKNELL ==

The SCEPTRE Awards, rewarding the best practice and the best people in the UK and Ireland shopping centre industry, are back - and they're bigger and better than ever.

The better-than expected sales performance over Christmas has continued into the new year, according to the latest Retail Sales Monitor from KPMG and the BRC. UK retail sales were up 3.1 per cent on a like-for-like basis, compared with January 2006, when sales had risen only 0.2 per cent after a strong Christmas.

Pedestrian traffic across the UK for January 2007 was down 28.8 per cent on December 2006, and on a year-on-year basis it was down 9.1 per cent on January 2006 according Experian.

MCARTHURGLEN, the outlet specialist, has appointed luxury brands specialist GIOVANNI GALBIATI to the newly-created dual role of managing director of Italy and regional director of Southern Europe. He is best known for his work with Gianni Versace, where he spent 15 years from 1989 to 2004, culminating in his appointment as group general manager.

Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh has become the first centre to host the UK's newest aerial adventure game, the Totem. The attraction has been specifically designed for shopping centres, retail parks and leisure outlets, and provides a unique and exciting experience for adventurous shoppers.

Valentine's Day once again proved fertile ground for marketing managers across the country. Centre after centre was festooned with hearts and flowers, but some demonstrated genuine originality.

The hard men of Salford City Reds rugby league club were encouraged to get in touch with their feminine side after they were given the chance to indulge in a little pampering session at The Trafford Centre.

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