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Footfall boost at Bluewater

Bluewater shopping centre in Kent said footfall rose 6.9% for the first six months of the year, while sales showed a modest increase.

However, some retailers told Drapers they were disappointed by their stores’ performances at the centre.

Russell Loveland, head of leasing at Bluewater landlord Lend Lease, said contemporary womenswear was performing particularly well. “Retailers such as Joseph, Hobbs and Laura Ashley are up double digits, but the middle market is not faring as well,” he said.

Nike and lingerie retailer Leia will open new stores in the autumn, and Country Casuals and Austin Reed will relocate to a joint 4,100sq ft unit at the centre.

Loveland said that overall sales were up by single digits. “We’re bringing people in, but it’s a tough market so they’re not always spending enough,” he said.

Last month, Marks & Spencer chairman Sir Stuart Rose singled out Bluewater as one of the retail locations feeling the affect of increased petrol prices.

Meanwhile, John Lewis has seen its sales fall at the centre.

One Bluewater tenant said: “The malls are not faring as well as the high street. Fuel prices are definitely having an effect.”
Another retailer added: “Our sales at Bluewater are flat, but with rates going up, it’s the equivalent of being down.”

But Hobbs chief executive Nick Samuel was satisfied with performance. “Sales are in line with expectations,” he said.

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