Major international leasing deals bring more premium brands to Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth

Gunwharf Quays [client], the UK’s leading premium retail outlet, has signed two major international fashion brands, Michael Kors and Hackett London, as well significantly upsizing Polo Ralph Lauren, becoming one of the largest standalone outlet stores for the brand in Europe. The new lettings total more than 23,348 sq ft (2,169 sq m) retail space, and strengthen the premium retail offer at the Land Securities’ asset located on the south coast in Portsmouth.


Praxis acquires £65m office portfolio

Property investment and management firm Praxis (client) has completed the acquisition of an eight-strong office and business park portfolio from real estate funds managed by Blackstone for £65m, representing a net initial yield of 8.19%.


Fenwick, Newcastle: revitalising a north-east giant

Anyone who has lived in Newcastle will tell you that Fenwick is as synonymous with the north-east city as St. James’ Park, Digital and The Cumberland Arms (yes, in case you hadn’t guessed, I lived there as a student). Located at the heart of the city on Northumberland Street is the original department store in its 11-strong (soon-to-be 12) portfolio, famous for its luxurious products, enormous Wine Shop (showcasing the largest selection of wine in the North East) and irrepressibly extravagant Christmas window.


MADE.COM brings designer furniture to Metquarter

Online design brand MADE.COM has announced plans for the opening of its brand new, 4,000 sq ft (372 sq m) North West showroom in Metquarter (client), Liverpool – its second showroom outside London.


New £200m Leisure Fund Completes First Three Transactions

Otium Real Estate (client) has completed its first three
transactions from its £200 million fund – Otium Leisure Ventures. Following
a successful equity/fund raise in December last year, the acquisition of first three assets totaling over £30 million, marks one year after Otium Real Estate entered the leisure real estate market. Otium Real Estate, led by founder and CEO Ashley Blake, is a property investment company focused exclusively on commercial leisure real estate.


Trinity Leeds integrates Apple Watch into loyalty programme in European first

Land Securities’ (client) shopping centre, Trinity Leeds, has become the first shopping centre in Europe to provide its customers with a loyalty programme enabled for Apple Watch and Apple Wallet (previously named Passbook). Trinity Leeds, widely regarded as Europe’s most digitally enabled shopping centre since its opening in 2013, launched its loyalty programme – ‘Love Trinity Leeds’ – in January this year. Members of ‘Love Trinity Leeds’ will now be able to redeem exclusive offers by scanning their Apple Watch in participating shops, bars and restaurants, including Trinity Kitchen, Trinity Leeds’ award-winning street food dining concept.


Uniqlo to open at Polygone Riviera

Innesco was behind the media announcement of Uniqlo, the renowned Japanese clothing brand, choosing Polygone Riviera’s lifestyle development, to open its very first store on the French Riviera. Polygone Riviera is being developed in a joint venture between Unibail-Rodamco and Socri.

Uniqlo is taking a significant 1,200 sqm (12,917 sqf) unit at the heart of The Designer Gallery district, anchored by Le Printemps department store.

We bet all fashionistas on the French Riviera are already counting the days to the opening of the store in October, to get their hands into a piece of Christophe Lemaire, the former creative director of Hermès and Sarah-Linh Tran’s capsule collection for Uniqlo.

Located in Cagnes-sur-Mer, Polygone Riviera will be the first open-air shopping centre in France.

Divided into four special districts – Quartier des Saveurs, Promenade des Palmiers, Quartier des Arcades and The Designer Gallery – Polygone Riviera will give shoppers an entirely original and exceptionally stylish shopping experience, setting a new benchmark for fashion, art and leisure in a mall environment.


Autumn conference season: how can you prepare, how will you cope?

BCSC, Completely Retail, World Retail Congress, MIPIM UK, EXPO Real, MAPIC and ICSC ReCon: the hustle and bustle of the Autumn conference season is almost upon us – the time when the industry gets up from its school holiday sun lounger and crams 6 months of deals and work into just 3 months – before it winds down (or up!) into Christmas. So how can you prepare, how will you make the most of it, and how will you cope?


Innesco Triples Social Media Following for County Square, Ashford

As part of its appointment to provide expert social media support to County Square in Ashford,  Innesco tripled the shopping centre’s Facebook fans, and increased its established Twitter followers by 44% over an 11-month period up to June 2015.


A day of rest? The great Sunday trading debate

In the aftermath of yesterday’s surprising Budget, George Osborne’s proposal to consult on a relaxation of Sunday trading laws was overshadowed by some of the more unexpected announcements. However, in the world of retail it had already sparked a polarised response. For its opponents, it strikes at the heart of two deep-seated and dearly-held values: that Sundays should be sacrosanct, and that the government has a duty to give the Davids of retail a helping hand against the supermarket Goliaths.


The debate seems to revolve around wildly different interpretations of fairness. For shopworkers’ union Usdaw, removing workers’ right to a day off is an affront to national values, and one that it will “vigorously” oppose. For some large supermarket chains like Asda, on the other hand, the fact that consumers are often forced to pay more on Sunday evenings – when their only option is to shop in smaller stores where prices are higher – is an irrational state of affairs that ought to be stopped.


This perceived injustice is likely to be given short shrift by small business groups. The Association of Convenience Stores argues that the current rule preventing larger retailers opening for more than six hours on a Sunday is one of the few advantages small shops can claim over their dominant rivals. To take it away, it claims, would put these stores at risk and threaten already beleaguered high streets.


The economic arguments are equally unclear. According to research by the New West End Company, which represents more than 600 businesses in central London, just two extra hours of Sunday trading could create almost 3,000 jobs in the capital and add more than £200m in annual sales. However, the Association of Convenience Stores said that during the Olympics, when restrictions were temporarily relaxed, sales actually fell by 0.4% and some smaller retailers suffered declines of up to 20 percent. And then there’s the question of online shopping, where opening hours simply don’t apply.


Amongst the numerous claims and counter-claims, one thing is becoming clear. Sunday trading, it seems, is an area where economics and emotion are inextricably linked. With the consultation yet to begin, it remains to be seen which will win the day.