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Westfield Stratford 'fills 95 per cent of space'

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Some 95 per cent of the total available space at the new Westfield Stratford City shopping centre has been snapped up, the firm has revealed.

The £1.45 billion development will open on Tuesday, next to the Olympic Games site in east London, with Waitrose, John Lewis and Marks & Spencer the anchor tenants.

The anchors have been joined by high-street heavyweights such as Primark, Topshop, Next and River Island at the 1.9 million sq ft site – which will have 300 stores and 70 bars and restaurants.

Westfield says that it expects the new centre to achieve similar footfalls to its sister site in west London – which opened in 2009 and attracted 23 million visitors over its first 12 months of trading.

Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger will be on hand to cut the ribbon at the opening, which comes amid “tough” conditions, according to an expert from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Richard Dodd, from the BRC, said: “Conditions are very tough at the moment as recent retail figures have showed. But these major investments are made for the long term, and what this shows is a high level of confidence that conditions will improve.”

But Westfield highlighted London’s resilience to the recent recession, and said the new development will become the closest shopping centre to home for some four million people who live nearby.

John Burton, a director of Westfield Stratford City, said: “Westfield develops schemes based on long-term fundamentals as we are long-term owners and managers.

“London proved to be more resilient in the recent economic downturn than the rest of the UK market with more positive retail sales figures. Even though our Westfield London scheme opened at the height of the global economic recession, it is performing exceptionally well [and]is fully let.”

Meanwhile, a property expert has highlighted the site’s location and its transport links as being things that will attract shoppers. People can get to the centre on the Tube via the Jubilee and Central lines.

David Harper, a partner at HDH, the property agent, said: “People are getting fed up driving around London and the ease of use of getting there by public transport is a major plus. It has great Tube and rail links.”

Another factor expected to attract shoppers is the centre’s position next to the Olympic site. Westfield estimates that 10 million people will visit the Olympics and 70 per cent of them will pass through the centre.

Dodd added: “Westfield is not being built solely for the Olympics, but it’s a major long-term investment by retailers for that part of east London, and it needs to be successful well outside of any Olympic considerations.”




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