Image: AEW
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UK: Festival Place secures another first for Basingstoke

Outdoor clothing and equipment specialists Mountain Warehouse has become the latest retailer to join Festival Place after signing a lease at the Basingstoke shopping centre, the largest shopping and leisure destination in North Hampshire.

Mountain Warehouse has opened a 2,391 sq ft store, offering its range of outdoor gear suitable for all the family. The retailer, which designs and makes its own top-quality products, will boost the centre’s sport and leisure offer that already includes Blacks, Trespass, Sports Direct and JD Sports. The new signing further cements Festival Place’s position as a leading UK retail destination, with the centre recently named one of the UK’s top 25 shopping centres by Trevor Wood Associates.

Malcolm McNeill, Head of Retail UK at Mountain Warehouse, said: “In-line with our portfolio expansion strategy, Festival Place provided us with the ideal location to open our first store in Basingstoke. The centre gives us a prominent location in the town centre with a really strong catchment profile. This was an opportunity too good to miss. We look forward to bringing our products to families from across North Hampshire.”

Image: AEW

Mountain Warehouse has become one of almost 30 new brands to open at Festival Place since the acquisition of the centre by real estate asset manager AEW. During the three years under AEW’s direction, footfall has also increased by over two million, taking the annual total to 22.4 million customers.

Along with the new signing, lifestyle clothing and accessories brand Fat Face has signed to expand its on-going presence at the centre by 24 per cent, moving to a 4,100 sq. ft unit. Additionally, Waterstones and Specsavers have both extended their existing leases by a further 10 years.

The Waterstones and Specsavers extensions brings the number of existing tenants that have renewed their leases to 60, since AEW has taken over the management of the centre three years ago, with several also choosing to upgrade, upsize or relocate within the centre. The majority of these tenants have introduced new fitout concepts to offer a contemporary, bright and spacious shopping environment and a more impactful experience to shoppers and visitors.

Russell Jewell, Head of Private Equity Funds at AEW, said: “These new signings, alongside the Jack Wills and Côte Brasserie deals earlier this summer are a testament of the high-quality, aspirational brands that Festival Place continues to attract. It’s encouraging to see that the centre is bringing new retailers to the town, and seeing existing retailers further upsizing and extending their leases, demonstrating further confidence in the scheme. As we approach the completion of the repositioning of the centre, it is promising to see such a positive trajectory for the centre.”

Festival Place is nearing the end of a major regeneration programme to reposition the 1.1 million sq. ft centre and attract customers from the wider Hampshire catchment into Basingstoke. The town is the seventh most affluent in the UK, with residents’ household income, on average, 52% above the national average. Its spending per capita is 8% higher than the national average and it has an 82% family population of which 35% is within the most affluent CAMEO group.

Festival Place was ranked 17th in the 2018 Global Data Survey for shopping centre destinations. Anchored by Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and Next, it is home to more than 200 retail, dining and leisure brands including Apple, Zara, River Island, Fat Face, GAP, Jack Wills and SuperDry. The leisure offer features a newly refurbished 10-screen Vue Cinema, a Flip Out trampoline park which features the UK’s first NinjaTAG interactive obstacle course, a health club with swimming pool, plus 27 restaurants including Côte Brasserie, Ask Italian, GBK, PizzaExpress, Las Iguanas and Patisserie Valerie.

Joint agents for Festival Place are Lunson Mitchenall and Cushman & Wakefield. CBRE is the managing agent for the centre.

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