Two Westfields and Bluewater are top UK malls
The three top shopping centres in the UK are all in London or the London catchment area, a new study has shown. GlobalData’s latest ranking sees Westfield London retaining top spot with Westfield Stratford still in number two position. And Bluewater in North Kent is in third place.
But it’s interesting that, despite Intu’s well publicised problems this year, nine of the top 20 belong to the property giant and Intu Watford is the biggest riser in this year’s rankings versus 2018.
And it’s also interesting that consumers still visit shopping centres often, despite reports of declining footfall, while young shoppers are their most enthusiastic visitors.
GlobalData’s newly released Top 50 Shopping Centres Report 2019 follows the inaugural report last year. Mixing primary consumer and B2B research with data from landlords, property experts and shoppers, it said that despite the “outperformance” of Westfield’s London centres, “overall, the top 20 list paints a picture of excellent shopping centre provision throughout the UK”.
Of the main risers in the top 50 rankings this year, Intu Watford (+10 places to 26), Westgate Oxford (+8 places to 27) and The Lexicon Bracknell (+8 places to 37) have seen the most significant improvement. Of these, Intu Watford has benefitted from a £180m investment program that has boosted the choice of food outlets and the leisure offer, in addition to facilitating a rise in the breadth of retailers present and making the centre more attractive to shoppers.
Looking at the list itself, after the top three in the top 10 come Intu Trafford Centre in Manchester, then Intu lakeside in Essex, Sheffield’s Meadowhall, Gateshead’s Intu Metrocentre, the Bullring in Birmingham, Brent Cross in London and Intu Merryhill.
The rest of the top 20 comprises St David’s in Cardiff, Canary Wharf in London, Intu Braehead in Renfrew, Milton Keynes’ Centre:MK, Manchester’s Arndale Centre, Bristol’s The Mall at Cribbs Causeway, Basingstoke’s Festival Place, East Kilbride’s Shopping Centre, Liverpool One, and Highcross in Leicester.
The report also showed the most popular retailers in the malls with Primark top on a 24% score. M&S was next on 22.2%, then Boots (21.6%), Next (19.3%), Argos (18.4%), H&M (17.8%), and John Lewis (17.7%). Also in the top 15 were Card Factory, Debenhams, Superdrug, New Look, Wilko, TK Maxx, B&M and WH Smith.
According to GlobalData’s primary consumer research, the main reason for visiting shopping centres remains the diversity of retailers and products on offer. And retail is still the most important consideration for shoppers, even though leisure options are increasingly being added to malls to lure consumers in and 83.1% consumers make use of them. In fact, nearly a quarter of all consumers visit for the purpose of eating out or using the leisure facilities.
With Primark the top mall option as far as retailers are concerned, GlobalData said “shoppers have come to expect a value retailer presence in shopping centres with Primark often now an anchor store, as a result of consumer demand for its huge, low-priced product range”. It has opened a store in Bluewater and is set to anchor the Barton Square development at Intu Trafford Centre when it opens in the spring. Similarly, H&M has upscaled many of its shopping centre stores, to create space for a wider product offer including its trend-focused homewares.
GlobalData also said 36.6% of consumers visit shopping centres at least twice a month with the average shopper making 17.3 trips a year – up from 15.9 in 2018. And the under 35s remain the most frequent visitors.
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