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Bracknell and Rushden Lakes among UK retail locations to watch in 2017

With more than 2.7m sq ft of new retail space coming on stream this year, Drapers takes a tour of the new shopping centres coming out of the ground around the UK, while Local Data Company’s Michael Weedon looks at shoppers’ favoured types of centres.

MI1840 ArcV LS Westgate Oxford Leasing Views Update South Sq View 07


Westgate Oxford

Bracknell, Oxford, Rushden Lakes in Northamptonshire and London are among the locations with the most new space set to come open in 2017. Drapers takes a look at the changing retail landscape for the coming year, when the largest amount of new floor space (more than 2.7m sq ft) will come on stream since 2013.

Lexicon Bracknell

The Lexicon is a new £240m retail and leisure development in Bracknell town centre that was due to open in spring 17 but has now been delayed to 7 September 2017.

It boasts 1m sq ft of shopping and leisure space that will bring 70 stores and restaurants, as well as a 1,300-space multi-storey car park.

Retailers signed up to the 580,000 sq ft retail space include Marks & Spencer, Fenwick, H&M, Topshop/Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Burton, River Island, Primark, Foot Locker and Fat Face.

Westgate Oxford

Westgate Oxford shopping centre will reopen in October 2017 with £440m investment set to triple the centre’s size to 800,000 sq ft, housing 100 retailers and 25 bars and restaurants.

Retailers signed up so far include & Other Stories, Cos, Hugo Boss, Ted Baker, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Joules, Russell & Bromley, Charles Tyrwhitt, Office, John Lewis, H&M, Michael Kors, Superdry, Primark, Next, Schuh, River Island and New Look.

Once Westgate reopens, research firm CACI predicts total retail spend in Oxford will exceed £1bn.

Rushden Lakes

Rushden Lakes is a new £50m 380,000 sq ft shopping and leisure destination in the Nene Valley in Northamptonshire, where the first stores are set to open in July 2017.

The site will be anchored by Marks & Spencer, House of Fraser and Primark, and will also feature a cinema, bowling alley and indoor climbing wall.

Westfield London

Westfield London opened in 2008 and currently houses more than 360 luxury, premium and high street retailers from more than 15 countries. The new £1bn expansion project will add 740,000 sq ft of new space anchored by a 230,000 sq ft John Lewis. It was due to be completed in 2017 but Drapers understands it may be pushed back into 2018.

Tunsgate Quarter, Guildford

Tunsgate Quarter in Guildford is a new regeneration project from Queensberry covering the area formerly known as Tunsgate Square.

The area comprises 18 retail units and eight restaurants across 80,000 sq ft, and is scheduled to open in October 2017. It is targeting retailers such as The White Company, Lululemon, Sweaty Betty and an independent womenswear retailer like or Question Air.

Retail parks continue to thrive

Michael weedon

Michael Weedon

Michael Weedon

We have seen three years of gentle but consistent improvement in shop vacancy come to a definite halt since the middle of last summer, says Local Data Company content editor Michael Weedon.

The reason is simple: new shop openings have fallen away while closures have stayed about the same. Fashion shops continue to open – there is still a lot of activity in lettings – but the froth of extra openings has flattened. Even online sales growth is moderating as the years roll on.

Long-term tracking of openings and closings of shops shows that retail parks, although they only contain 2.5% of all the stores in Britain, continue to grow. Footfall monitoring also shows that this is the only type of location picking up visitors.

Town centres, surprisingly, have proven remarkably robust in terms of shop numbers over the past five years. Secondary and standalone locations have taken the big hit.

While new retailers probably can’t take on a huge unit on a retail park, a well-chosen town centre will continue to have a lot to offer.

So, even with uncertainty, we can’t simply wait and doing nothing until we have Brexited. There are consumers keen to be clothed, shops to be opened, businesses to be built.


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