London Westfield has been identified as the UK’s leading standalone shopping centre, according to an annual report by a retail and e-commerce consultancy.
Venuescore’s report assesses the leading 2,000+ commercial venues in the UK, based on the presence of leading retailers and brands trading there, and evaluates these retail destinations across a range of attributes including market position, age focus, tourist orientation, ‘fashionability’ and foodservice.
London Westfield’s unique tenant line-up is said to be the reason for its high ranking, as shoppers flock to the centre, the second most aspirational shopping area in London after the West End.
Bluewater, Meadowhall and Trafford Centre came next on the list, while new east London offering Westfield Stratford was ranked sixth. This position is expected to improve over the course of the year, as remaining vacant units are taken in the run-up to Christmas.
The report also identifies 15 “major city” venues in UK retail, led by London West End, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and, for the first time, Liverpool, as providing the UK’s most complete retail offers.
Birmingham city centre was found to be the most “mall-dominated” city centre, followed by Cardiff and Aberdeen.
London West End and Brighton provide the lowest provision of shopping centre-based retail of the major cities, while Bristol and Sheffield are the two major cities facing the greatest relative competition from dominant retail centres.
Within the capital, Oxford St/Regent St is now followed by Covent Garden, Knightsbridge and Victoria, which are emerging as central London’s dominant shopping venues. Kingston, Croydon and Bromley lead the offer in Greater London.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, Salford, Bootle and Accrington emerge as the UK’s most downmarket shopping destinations in terms of market position, contrasting with Knightsbridge, Bond Street and Bicester Village at the top-end of the scale.
This reports comes as the acquisition of shopping centres is on the rise.
Earlier this month, real estate firm DTZ reported that, in the third quarter of 2011, 16 shopping centre transactions totalling £447 million were completed, although investor caution over the price of secondary and tertiary stock has led to an increase of negotiable transactions.
Commenting at the time, Mark Williams, Senior Director in Retail Investment at DTZ, said: “Consumer spending will continue to disappoint, with decline probably extending into 2012. Rationalisation of retailer outlets and even further failures can be expected.
“Especially vulnerable will be schemes with short unexpired lease terms, which will struggle to sell.”