Thursday, 28 October 2010

Pictures from today's opening of One New Change

A selection of pictures of One New Change the shopping centre opened today in the City of London, near St Paul's Cathedral.

Approach from St Paul's Underground Station

Approach towards Jamie Oliver restuarant


Next and entrance

Press photographing opening

Stylish interior

Location and mapping display

Outside the lifts

Window display

Entertainments stage

View up lifts

Friday, 27 August 2010

American Apparel article

Interesting article in the Guardian about the rise and fall of American Apparel. Reading the first sentance of this article I was wondering what the hell my colleague had given me...

It wasn't having oral sex with an employee in front of a female journalist that now threatens to undo Dov Charney, founder of American Apparel. Nor was it simulating oral sex with another female member of staff whom he had ordered to pretend to masturbate in front of him. The 41-year-old's professional and personal reputation isn't even on the line because at least three female employees have filed sexual harassment lawsuits against him (all the cases were settled before reaching trial); nor because he walks through his factory in his underpants and conducts meetings wearing just a thong – or a sock. The sock is not, one should add, worn on his foot.

Read the whole article here:

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Economic impact of the World Cup

It seems that Mintel has been quickest off the mark with their economic impact of the World Cup. You should expect to see many more of this type of analysis coming out over the next four weeks and then possibly follow up articles depending upon how well the England team performs.

UK consumers set to provide world cup boost to economy

As June approaches and the nation anticipates a summer of football frenzy, new research from Mintel reveals it is not only the fans who are anticipating cheering a good result. Mintel’s exclusive research reveals that nearly two thirds (63%) of Brits can be expected to increase their leisure spending as a consequence of the 2010 FIFA World Cup - rising to almost four in five hardcore football fans. In addition, nearly three quarters (71%) of UK adult population are planning to watch the world cup at some level and just 28% Brits claim to have no interest in the tournament.

With in and out of home sectors looking to cash in, manufacturers and retailers are eagerly awaiting a result. Over one in five (23%) consumers say they will probably place one or more bets on the World Cup – rising to 37% of those who watch a lot of football. Amongst fans who will be going to pubs to watch games, four fifths (81%) predict an impact on spending, suggesting that they will go out and spend money over and above their usual social activities. Meanwhile, 31% say they will be buying alcohol as a result of the world cup, 29% food and snacks and 13% say they will buy a newspaper more often.

Richard Cope, Principal Trends analyst at Mintel, said:

“Despite edging back into growth at the end of 2009, the UK economy remains in need of the boost to spending that can be delivered by the World Cup, ideally underpinned by a successful tournament for the England team. Sport can be a significant driver of the ‘feel good factor’ that encourages happy consumers to spend – and the opportunity of the World Cup this summer could prove just the ticket for both retailers and the wider economy.”

Highlighting our national passion for the ‘beautiful game’, more than 70% of adults in the UK – and more than 60% of women – will watch at least some of the tournament. Interest is not dependent on home success either – only 13 % of those following the tournament will switch off if or when England are knocked out. Indeed, even those with the most casual interest in the World Cup (the 24% of Brits who don’t normally watch football, but will tune in for the world cup) are buying into the whole event experience – only 26 % of these will depart with the national team.

Mintel’s research reveals that the majority (83%) of UK adults following the World Cup will be cheering for England. Of the remainder, 5% will be following Brazil and 2% for Italy and Spain respectively. However, Mintel’s research reveals that many consumers have also have a reserve in mind when it comes to team support – with brand Brazil leading the way with 9% of consumers, followed by England and Italy with 5% each.

Meanwhile, it seems committed football fans used to showing their support for their team are planning to take that attitude into the World Cup – with 42% saying that they ‘regard myself as patriotic and am proud to show it’. Indeed, one in ten consumers (equating to 4m Brits) overall claim they are planning to buy the shirt or a flag of the team they will be supporting. However, it seems that casual followers adopt a more typically British reserve, with 46% saying they are patriotic, but don’t feel the need to show it.

The in-home sector is also set to see the benefit. Mintel's research reveals that 61% of those who plan to watch the majority of cup games in home with their family (and 56% of those planning to watch alone) say that the World Cup will have an impact on their spending over and above their normal household expenditure. In addition, a third (31%) of Brits say they will probably buy alcoholic drinks specifically for entertaining during World Cup games.

It also seems regionality – and high profile club locations – also have a part to play in patriotism and interest in world cup prospects. The highest levels of football and World Cup interest are apparent in the North West (32%) and Greater London (29%), where the greatest concentrations of professional clubs also exist. Intermediate interest then peaks in Yorkshire / Humberside (26%) and the Midlands (25%) where the next highest concentrations of clubs are found. Scotland / North (27%), South East / East Anglia (27%) and South West / Wales (22%) regions follow.

But it seems consumers are failing to get a kick out of watching games with latest 3D technology as yet. Just 5% of Brits say they would like to watch World Cup games in 3D in pubs or cinemas.

Source: Mintel

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Head of Retail at Jones Lang LaSalle gives his retail views

Guy Grainger the Head of Retail at Jones Lang LaSalle gives his overview of the current state of the UK retail market, retail property and the internet.

Topics cover:
- Retail sales and the economy
- Retailer sentiment
- Tenant demand for property
- Rental growth for retail property
- Selfridges and internet sales

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Uncertainty returns to global equity markets

Following the dramatic upturn in global equity markets yesterday, uncertainty returns as optimism about the bailout in the eurozone fades.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Westgate Centre Oxford sold to Crown Estate and Land Securities

The Crown Estate bought the Westgate Centre in Oxford today for around £56m at a net initial yield of 6.75%.  Half of the centre was simultaneously sold to Land Securities as The Crown Estate once again looked to work with their rival on a shopping centre project.

More details about the Westgate Centre in Oxford.

The Crown Estate press release read:

"The Crown Estate has today completed the purchase of the 30,000 sq m (320,000 sq ft) Westgate shopping centre in Oxford.

The transaction sees The Crown Estate take ownership of the Westgate Centre for circa £56 million at a net initial yield of around 6.75 per cent. It forms part of our strategy to diversify our urban property portfolio and reduce our central London weighting by investing in key regional locations. In the last twelve months the strategy has seen The Crown Estate complete close to £600 million of property transactions.
We have also established a 50:50 joint venture partnership with Land Securities Group PLC at the Westgate Centre. This follows the recent partnership at Princesshay Shopping Centre, Exeter, which saw us purchase a 50 per cent stake in the scheme.
The partnership will seek to enhance the shopping experience at Westgate, the existing retail mix at the Westgate Centre and assess prospects for a commercially viable development proposal to ensure the Westgate Centre meets the needs of Oxford’s residents, shoppers and businesses alike.
James Cooksey, head of diversification and central London portfolios at The Crown Estate said: “We are excited about this major purchase and look forward to taking a long-term approach to asset management and stewardship of this important city centre scheme.
“Westgate has the potential to significantly enhance Oxford city centre’s retail landscape and our commercial expertise and investment track record will help realise that potential. We are keen to work closely in the future with key stakeholders including the City and County Councils, along with prospective retailers, in particular the John Lewis Partnership.”
John Lewis Property Director, Jeremy Collins, said: “This is positive news for the Oxford City Centre and we look forward to working closely with the partnership and the council to bring our John Lewis department store to fruition."
On behalf of the nation, we manage a highly diverse £6 billion property portfolio across the UK and its objectives, as laid down by Parliament under The Crown Estate Act 1961, include enhancing the value of the estate and the revenue it produces. In delivering against these objectives, we have committed to a strategy of diversifying our commercial property holdings away from central London by acquiring key assets in major city centre locations, including shopping centres and retail parks. The purchase of the Westgate Shopping Centre forms an important part of this strategy and follows the purchase in December 2009 of a 50 per cent stake in the 50,000 sq m (530,000 sq ft) Princesshay Shopping Centre in Exeter, our first joint venture arrangement with Land Securities Group PLC."

Monday, 3 May 2010

Problems in Greece, Weakness of the Euro, Retailer Benefits

Another successful Greek rescue package has been announced today, with the German government looking like they will back this proposal.  I'm sure many will not accept that this rescue package will become a reality until the money starts following.  The eurozone has so far supported the theory that currency union without political union is very hard to sustain.

I will be watching the foreign exchange markets closely over the next few days to see whether they are convinced that the proposals will become and reality and whether they can really work...or are just postponing the inevitable, a Greek debt default.

One benefit of the problems in Greece are that retailers should start to see the benefits of a stronger pound.  In the past six months the pound has strengthened by around 8% against the euro.Retailers have been struggling throughout the downturn for a number of reasons, and one of these was the weakness of the pound pushing up the price of imports.  This has hit retailer margins as they were forced to keep prices low in order to continue to attract customers.

It should be said that some retailers have been loving the weakness of the pound, particularly those in Central London who have been enjoying roaring trade as tourists from Europe and around the world came to the capital looking for cheap goods.

In addition those companies (generally not retailers) that have benefited from exporting goods will not be thanking the rise in the pound.

Nevertheless, the pound remains weak compared to historic standards and further strengthening over the next few years should be expected.  In the short term the problems in Greece and other eurozone countries will continue to have an impact on the relative value against the euro, whilst the outcome of the General Election and if there is a hung parliament will almost certainly weaken the pound as markets fear indecision and a lack of action of the deficit.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Always adding new centre - your suggestions

You will notice that we are constantly adding new retail locations to The Retail Database. Eventually we hope to be able to open up the database for everyone to contribute.

Until this time please feel free to suggest any shopping centres, retail parks or high streets that you would like to see on the website. We have recently added Fareham Shopping Centre onto the database because it was suggested by one of our Twitter followers.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

London 2012 Olympic Games, shopping and retail opportunities

It may seem like a long way away but the London Olympics Games will be with us in just over two years and it is time to start thinking about the best ways to take advantage of the many retail opportunities associated with the Olympics Games.

We will be providing regular comments over the next two years, giving advice and suggestions for retailers, independent traders and visitors looking to get the best retail experience from the Olympics in London.

The Olympic retail experience will not just be the massive Westfield development located at the heart of the Olympic complex, although it will play a big part and it certainly worth having a look at the scheme which is set to open in 2011.

Visitors will be located across London and the wider South East. Tourism throughout the UK will be boosted as people from across the globe take the opportunity to see the country, its culture and its history. Everyone should be making the most of this opportunity.

One place you will certainly be hearing more about in the run up to the Olympics will be Much Wenlock in Shropshire. Some claim this to be the birthplace of the modern Olympics.

Election debate - what wasn't said!

The final election debate was supposed to focus upon the economy, but frankly the lack of detail from all three candidates was astonishing.  We learnt very little new about their policies and I'm not sure anyone really believes that cuts won't be larger than we are being told, whoever gets into government.

This was a great opportunity to debate the merits of a Brown type Keynesian policy of continuing government spending verses the Conservative classical economics position of cutting the deficit, shrinking government and balancing the books.  Both positions have merit and should have been examined.  They were hinted at but no great detail was given.

It is easy to understand why politicians avoid announcing these tough and technical positions to the public.  George Osbourne went down the path of announcing austerity and the polls moved sharply against him.  It seems perhaps we are happier to be misled than to hear the truth.

Make no mistake, whoever gets elected next Thursday, spending will be cut sharply and taxes will rise.  Even with the economy coming out of recession, things may to many feel a lot worse.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

UK GDP Q1 2010 likely to be revised up

Last Friday saw the release of the preliminary estimate of the UK Q1 2010 GDP figure.  The economy was shown to have grown by 0.2% in the first three months of the year, compared to 0.4% in the final quarter of 2009.  This was less than the 0.5% that analysts had expected.  These forecasts always confuse me a little...are analysts forecasting what they think GDP grew by in the quarter or what the preliminary estimates will show...a distinctly different calculation.

The preliminary reading is based upon 40% of the data needed to make a complete reading, compared to 60% at the second reading and 80% at the final reading.  With more data available for the earlier part of the quarter, the preliminary readings are skewed towards what went on in the first two months.

Given the terrible weather conditions in the first part of the quarter, which shut down factories, kept people away from work and resulted in a sharp fall in retail sales, it is more surprising that the preliminary estimates are not worse. 
Nevertheless, other indicators suggest that the economy strengthened throughout the quarter, recovering output and sales from the bad weather period.  Therefore, like the previous few preliminary GDP estimates, it is again highly likely that future readings will be revised higher.  The 0.5% growth in GDP that analysts were expecting may well become a reality or possibly even prove too pessimistic!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

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Do not be fooled by unemployment figures

The unemployment figures released yesterday provided mixed headlines this morning.  Some of the press focused upon the fall in unemployment and 30,000 fewer people claiming unemployment benefit.  These are good figures that provide some signs that the recession and the downturn are fading.  However as always the devil is in the detail.
What the headlines don't tend to indicate is that although unemployment fell, so did the number of people in employment.  Therefore the number of people working, earning and producing goods and services in the economy actually declined.

The two paragraphs above may seem inconsistent.  They are not.  The main reason that both unemployment and employment fell is that the total number of people in the labour market has been falling as the inactivity rate increased by 150,000 in the quarter and the number of overseas workers decline 100,000 in the year.  The rise in the inacitivy rate was driven by a 100,000 increase in the number of people registered as students.  Although this is preferable to redundancy, the majority of these students are not attending university or enrolling in rigorous higher education courses, many of these courses have been set up in the past year in the face of recession and are well known to provide little in the way of actual benefit to either the individual or wider society.  A cynical person might even argue that these courses are a very useful political tool to keep down the official unemployment figures. 

Finally the labour market stats also continue to show that it is the public sector that is creating the additional jobs, not the private sector.  Given the necessity for the government to cut its deficit, this is a temporary solution, and likely to be reversed.  Without a return of private sector jobs growth there will be no recovery in the labour market.
Its not all doom and gloom out there anymore and things are slowly getting better, but as ever it is easy to get carried away when misinterpreting monthly data!

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Centre Court Shopping Centre now on TRdb

I popped into Centre Court this weekend to pick up a few things before my wife went away for the week so I thought I would put it on The Retail Database.

Its a nice place and doesn't seem to be struggling too much in the current economic environment.  Very few empty shops.

I took the picture below on my Android phone.

Link to the centre is here:

Centre Court Shopping Centre is located at the heart of Wimbledon in south west London. The shopping centre is named after the famous tennis court where the Wimbledon tennis championship is played.

The shopping centre is anchored by a medium sized Debenhams. Other stores include an H&M, Hotel Chocolat, Gap and Boots.

There are also two small format supermarkets in the centre a Tesco Metro and a Marks & Spencer simply food. 

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Revised GDP figures and economic forecasts

As expected the GDP was revised up to 0.3% in the final quarter of 2009 and could possibly be revised up further at the final reading.  The second reading is based upon 60% of the data needed to make a complete reading, compared to 40% for the first reading and 80% at the final reading.

For further information see:

It is interesting to note that 0.3% is within the forecast estimates given by economists before the first reading came out.  When the preliminary reading was 0.1% (outside of the forecast range) commentators in the press were quick to belittle the economics profession and the forecasts, questioning their competency.  I think it is probably time that economists questioned the competency of the press, who fail time and time again to understand statistics and their limitations.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Worse business investment puts Q4 GDP revision in doubt...

Tomorrow's second reading of the Q4 GDP figure has been widely expected to show that the UK emerged from recession at a quicker pace than the 0.1% originally shown in the preliminary reading.

Although analysts weren't expected a dramatic change in the number, a reading of around 0.2% or 0.3% would have given them more comfort for the outlook of the recovery.

However, the likelihood of tomorrow's second reading showing an upwards revision was put in doubt today by news from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showing business investment falling sharply in the final quarter of the year.  According to the Preliminary reading of business investment in Q4 2009, investment fell 5.8%, compared to a fall of 1.8% in Q3 2009.

Again a health warning must be placed on these figures as they are only preliminary readings and therefore are highly likely to be changed.

For more information:

There remains a good possibility that GDP will be revised up tomorrow.  Nevertheless these figures suggest that business was not yet confident enough to spend money in the final months of 2009 and were hoarding their cash in anticipation of things continuing to be bumpy in 2010.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Another sign of a better final quarter

Manufacturing output was reported to have grown strongly in the final month of 2009 which provides further evidence to suggest that the UK economy emerged from recession at a stronger than originally report pace in the  final quarter of last year.

In other news today the Bank of England continued to sound cautious on the outlook for GDP growth but warned that in the short term inflation would continue to rise.  This is not surprising given the rapid fall in prices twelve month's ago and rising VAT in January 2010.  They did not give much away as to when interest rates will start to rise...but the end of this year (November) is the best guess.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

BRC Retail Sales for January

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) retail sales index for January was released today, showing like-for-like retail sales values falling 0.7% in January 2010 compared to the same month twelve month's earlier.

This is not a surprise given both the snow and the rise in VAT.  It is worth remembering that one month's data does not make a trend, particularly as the BRC index is a comparison with a single month twelve month's earlier.  If last year's sales were very good that month then this can make today's sales look disproportionately weak.

I personally would avoid this melodramatic statement:

Stephen Robertson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said:

“An awful start to the year and in stark contrast to an upbeat December. This is the worst January sales growth in the 15 years we’ve been running the survey. It was a month of two halves with a focus on must-haves early on. The coldest January since 1987 boosted food sales at the start of the month, as shoppers stocked up. But food sales growth melted with the snow. The month as a whole was significantly weaker than December.

“Most non-food sectors had a poor start, though nearly all recovered towards the end of the month. Furniture and DIY were worst hit as customers put off buying non-essentials. The VAT change brought some sales forward to December, but customers are becoming cautious again in the face of economic and political uncertainty. Retailers will be hoping these results are mainly a snow induced blip, rather than an indication of further difficulties.”


Monday, 8 February 2010

Ethel Austen and Au Naturale in administration - job losses likely

Ethel Austin the clothing retailer and its sister homewear company Au Naturale have gone into administration.
Although the 276 stores will continue to trade as a bidder is sought, it is feared that some or possibly all of the 3,700 people employed by the company will lose there jobs.
Further details from the administrator can be found here:
As Carl Malways mentioned in his previous article about the outlook for retail sales February is likely to be the start of a weak and uncertain period for retailers.  If you would like to read the article it can be found here:

Thursday, 4 February 2010

End of Quantitative Easing?

The Bank of England announced today that it would put on hold its policy of Quantitative Easing.  The Bank has left the door open for starting the programme again, should the economic environment deteriorate.  Given the current economic environment, this is not likely. 

The Bank is unlikely to make few major announcements until after the General Election, but there is a good chance that interest rates may start to rise before the end of the year.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Retail Week Campaign

Retail Week has launched a campaign to bring politicians and retailers together in an attempt to solve some of the problems on the high street.