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Bluewater has regained the top position in the UK shopping centre hierarchy according to Trevor Wood Associate’s Going Shopping 2011 – The Definitive Guide to Shopping Centres. Westfield London moved

straight to number three behind 2008 leader MetroCentre, Gateshead, in the guide which uses footfall, size, number and type of shops and facilities available to rank the UK’s top 500 shopping centres and provides research on factory outlet centres, shopping parks, shopping & leisure centres, tenants, owners, letting agents and managers. The research shows the

emergence of a premier division of 27 leading shopping centres including newcomers St David’s, Cardiff and Liverpool One.

Trevor Wood, senior partner

at Trevor Wood Associates, said: “It is encouraging that despite prevailing market conditions, most of the 500 leading schemes increased their scores, even if only marginally. This shows the understanding from landlords and tenants that long term success comes from sustained investment.” In the same guide, Capital Shopping Centres is named as the top investment manager, Jones Lang LaSalle as the top managing agent and Cushman & Wakefield as the top letting agent. Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet tops the factory outlet centre poll and Edinburgh’s Fort Kinnaird is top shopping park. The Going Shopping guide has been comprehensively updated and extended as a result of continuous research by Trevor Wood Associates. The review is informed by comment from owners, managers, tenants and agents and the shopping centres are ranked by overall attractiveness to shoppers, retailers and investors based on a point system.


up 5.2 per cent on a like-for-like basis from April 2010, when sales had fallen 2.3 per cent as only Easter Sunday and Monday fell into the April trading period. This year all of Easter was in April’s trading period. On a total basis, sales were up 6.9 per cent, against a 0.2 per cent decrease in April 2010. Food sales returned to

growth after March’s Easter- distorted fall. Clothing and footwear benefited from the warm weather, as did outdoor DIY and leisure. But indoor products suffered, with big- ticket items hardest hit amid consumer uncertainty. Stephen Robertson, director

general at the British Retail Consortium, said: “Easter and the royal wedding bank holiday provided a badly needed boost to many retailers during April. Food sales were strong leading up to Good Friday, suggesting most families prioritised their spending on the Easter celebrations. The hottest April since records began got people out spending on summer clothing and footwear. “These sales figures are a

relief after the dire sales falls we saw in March but they are not the full picture. The numbers are being compared with an April


last year which was a time of uncertainty ahead of the General Election, and which didn’t include the main Easter trading period. “Considered together, the

results for March and April largely cancel each other out and the overall trend is flat. The underlying pressures on the retail sector of climbing costs and depressed consumer spending will be problems for many months to come. The Bank’s decision to maintain the freeze on interest rates was the right one and it’s important we see the economy performing much more strongly before there is any change in future.” Helen Dickinson, head

of retail at KPMG, added: “As expected, the combination of a late Easter, dry and sunny weather, and the royal wedding feel good factor, has provided a very welcome respite in a challenging retail trading environment. Most sectors showed a significant uplift on the prior year and on recent months, with food, drink, clothing and footwear leading the way. The question now is whether this is indicative of a corner having been turned from the longer term downward trend in demand. Given the three- month average is still heading in a downward direction with 1.8

RETAIL SALES VALUE: Percentage change year-on-year 2009

January February March April May June July


September October

November December

January – July average January – December average

Like for like 1.1

-1.8 -1.2 -1.5

-0.8 1.4 1.8 0.1 1.6 3.8 1.8 4.2 0.2

-0.8 Source: BRC-KPMG RSM (food & drink data from IGD)

Total 3.2 0.1

0.6 6.3 0.8 3.2 3.6 2.2 3.7

5.9 4.1

6§ 2.7

1.6 2010

Like for like -0.7 2.2 4.4

-2.3 0.8 1.2 .5

1.0 0.5 0.8 0.7

-0.3% 0.7 1.4

Total 1.2 4.5 6.6

-0.2 3.0 3.4 2.6 2.8 2.2 2.4 2.8

1.5% 2.5 3.3

-0.4 -3.5 5.2

per cent total and 0.1 per cent sales growth for February to April compared to 2.7 per cent total and 0.8 per cent for the three months to January, this is unlikely to be case. Hence, the majority of retailers remain cautious about the outlook for the remainder of the year.” Commenting on food and drink sales, Joanne Denney- Finch, chief executive, IGD, said: “Shoppers made the most of the hottest April on record, the bank holidays and the royal wedding. Alcohol sales, particularly champagne, received a boost as people toasted the royal couple’s big day. Overall food and grocery sales growth was especially strong in the run-up to Easter, but was flattered by Good Friday and Saturday falling in March’s trading period in 2010, but April’s this year. “Although households

are dealing with several financial pressures they are looking to economise without compromising on quality. Our ShopperTrack research found more than eight out of ten (81 per cent) of shoppers said they are prepared to pay a bit extra for premium groceries, such as locally produced, while many are thinking about shopping more locally to save on petrol costs.”


Like for like 2.3

Total 4.2 1.1

-1.9 6.9




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