Westfield has completed its first shopping centre development in the UK, with the opening of the £340m Westfield Derby six months ahead of schedule. And at the same time it has secured anchors for three more developments in its £11bn UK development programme.

Basildon Council has chosen a shortlist of four consortia to bid for the £1bn regeneration of Basildon town centre in Essex. British Land, already the dominant owner in Basildon through its Eastgate Centre, has teamed up with Lend Lease to bid for the project, and the other three shortlisted are John Laing/Gladedale/Scarborough; Taylor Wimpey/Quintain and Wilson Bowden/Barratt Homes. The four teams will now hold discussions with the council and a development partner is expected to be chosen by June 2008.

Multi Development has signed another tranche of retailers at Victoria Square, its £320m regeneration scheme in Belfast's city centre. Arcadia's Topshop has been confirmed as the final anchor tenant and Ted Baker, Tom Tailor, Prezzo, Monsoon/Accessorize and JD Sports have also signed up for the mall which opens in March 2008.

Hammerson and Morley have submitted a planning application to Peterborough City Council for a 730,000-sq ft retail, entertainment and leisure quarter in the North Westgate area of Peterborough city centre.

Fashion brands Hugo Boss and Ted Baker, together with jeweller Links of London, are the latest big names to sign up for Grosvenor and USS's 450,000-sq ft Grand Arcade retail scheme in Cambridge.

Bedford Borough Council's planning committee has given the go-ahead to St Modwen Developments' proposals for a major regeneration of its town centre.

The UK's retail hierarchy faces a radical shake-up over the next decade, according to new research from Experian. The current surge in development activity is likely to change shopping patterns for good.

Westfield and Hermes opened the year's largest shopping centre development Westfield Derby on October 9 - impressively six months ahead of schedule.

When the first Eurostar train officially leaves from the redeveloped St Pancras International Station in London on (November 14, the owners, London & Continental Railways (LCR), and Network Rail will be hoping the general public and train passengers are as impressed with the station's 60-plus retail and hospitality units as they are with the monumental Victorian structure in which they are housed.

In the current climate, security has an essential role to play in protecting our safety, assets and ultimately our freedom to go about our daily lives. In spite of this the appointment of a security provider is becoming more and more price-led, to the detriment of the security industry and you, its customers.

UK retail sales in September were up 3.0 per cent on a like-for-like basis, compared with September 2006, according to the latest Retail Sales Monitor from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG.

Please remember the date, 9 October 2007, the date Westfield Derby opened its doors and the day that the food court industry in the UK took a leap forward.

Westfield arrived in the UK at the tail end of the last decade. Although Lend Lease had set new standards at Bluewater, the arrival of another Australian shopping centre owner was met with a degree of cynicism.

Fashion jewellery retailer Swarovski is a familiar name in many of the country's premier shopping centres, and with further store openings expected over the next few years it's certainly a company to watch out for.

I am spending a fair amount of time travelling around Europe overseeing three schemes in Germany, the Czech Republic and Hungary. The more I travel the more I appreciate just how valuable good service is.

There's no doubt that global credit crunch has hit the shopping centre investment market hard. For many purchasers it was the ready availability of debt finance that oiled the wheels of the investment merry-go-round. Without that essential lubricant the ride has come to a juddering halt.

This autumn is witnessing the launch of six major new shopping centres stretching from Glasgow in the north to Exeter in the south.

Commercialisation is a term with which, these days, all retail property owners and managers are very familiar. But with a temptation to go overboard in a bid to generate enough non-retail income from the malls, getting it right is a challenge in itself.

Customer service is vital in a shopping centre environment and therefore, giving customers what they want while also generating additional revenue for the centre is a win-win situation to be in.

During the past year, there has been increasing interest from centre owners to drive mall commercialisation revenue, while our client enquiries have tripled. Maintaining the income stream from a centre has become more difficult, with the threat of falling yields in shopping centre investments and the increase in voids, due to retailer receiverships, such as Jessops, Fopp and Adams. Landlords are therefore looking at commercialisation as real added value.

With Christmas only a couple of months away, shopping centres are now gearing up for the busiest time of the year, with temporary RMU merchants continuing to be a vital part of the retail mix.

An increasingly popular way for shopping centres to generate additional income is through digital advertising. A great number of centres are now going digital through the introduction of plasma screens on the malls, which provide a platform for advertising as well as a mall directory, local information and details of forthcoming centre events and offers.

More than 3,000 delegates are expected to congregate next month in Gateshead for the UK shopping centre industry's biggest event - the annual BCSC Conference & Showcase.

Alongside the Conference BCSC will once again host the popular Showcase exhibition. This year's Showcase, which was more than 90 per cent sold out in early October, will host more than 90 retailers, owners, developers, agents, advisers, consultants and other exhibiting groups.

On the opening day of the BCSC conference, delegates will have the opportunity to take a guided tour of Newcastle city centre, one of the UK's most vibrant retail destinations.

Focal point of the BCSC's Gateshead study tour will be a visit to Capital Shopping Centres' MetroCentre. At 1.8 million sq ft the MetroCentre, which originally opened in 1986, is the UK's top-ranked regional shopping centre and is Europe's largest covered retail and leisure destination. And as the centre celebrates its 21st birthday CSC has unveiled ambitious plans to refresh the offer with the refurbishment and extension of the centre's Yellow Mall.

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The SCEPTRE Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Capital Shopping Centres, was given to Realm's Gordon Gabbani. The announcement was greeted by a standing ovation at the packed ballroom at the Dorchester hotel, London.

Karen Carr, marketing manager at the MetroCentre in Gateshead, was the winner of this year's SCEPTRE Marketing Manager of the Year Award, sponsored by LDJ Design & Display.

CUSHMAN & WAKEFIELD has made JOHN MENZIES, formerly head of retail for Donaldsons in Scotland, a partner. C&W holds instructions to handle the St James shopping centre in Edinburgh, the St Enoch centre in Glasgow and 12 other shopping centres in Scotland.

Manchester's fashionistas flocked to the Triangle shopping centre last month to watch the final of North West Young Designer of the Year.

Talkback Thames has started recording ITV1's All Star Family Fortunes, which is being sponsored by The Mall. The sponsorship deal will put The Mall brand in front of millions of prime-time viewers, and will include events in all of its properties nationwide.

Centre owners like to portray their malls as havens of peace and quiet, but Zurich Assurance's Piazza shopping centre in Huddersfield became the unlikely venue for the first ever UK theatre production of Fight Club.

Leisure agents Shelley Sandzer managed to create the perfect recipe of work, pleasure and charity by hosting a special advance screening of the forthcoming Disney Pixar Film Ratatouille at the Apollo West End Cinema.

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