SGS, the property company that manages four of the UK’s most popular retail and leisure destinations – Lakeside, Atria Watford, Braehead and Victoria Centre, has announced a string of lease renewals, extensions and new deals. Brands involved include Apple, River Island, Tesco, Next and new adventure bar, Boom Battle Bar, amongst others.

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The decision by a number of leading names to renew, extend or take up space over the past few weeks is indicative of continued confidence in physical retail, combined with compelling leisure and F&B offering, and its long-term value to brands’ multichannel strategies. It is now well-established that a physical presence in a high footfall location significantly drives not just in-store sales, but also general brand awareness and consequently online sales – often referred to as the store’s ‘halo effect’.

The deals are also a testament to the unique strengths that these centres continue to offer retailers and leisure providers, including expert assistance with safe management of space throughout the pandemic. Current occupancy across the four centres sits at 95%.

Leasing activity – summary

Lakeside welcomes Boom Battle Bar – a 14,779 sq ft adventure bar filled with exciting games and activities –  like Bavarian Axe-Throwing, Crazier Golf, Augmented Reality Darts, Shuffleboard, Beer Pong and more. The venue also serves street food and ‘instagrammable cocktails’

Apple has opted to renew its lease on a 5,502 sq ft space at Lakeside, an 8,125 sq ft space at Atria Watford and extend its lease on a 5,700 sq ft store at Braehead

Leading fashion retailer River Island has renewed the lease on its 10,143 sq ft store at Atria Watford and extended its lease on a 9,700 sq ft space at Braehead

Supermarket giant Tesco has renewed the lease on its 50,000 sq ft space at Victoria Centre

Next has also extended the lease on its 44,000 sq ft space at Victoria Centre. This news follows the opening of one of Next’s first Beauty & Home stores at Atria Watford last year

House of Fraser has renewed the lease on its 109,000 sq ft unit at Victoria Centre

Leading optician and eyewear retailer, Vision Express, has renewed its lease on a 3,882 sq ft space at Lakeside and a 4,640 sq ft store at Atria Watford

Popular British chocolatier Hotel Chocolat has also extended its lease on a 600 sq ft space at Braehead

Braehead also welcomes two further new tenants. Pancake restaurant Stack & Still has signed a deal to lease a 3,900 sq ft space and furnishing company TDR Furniture, meanwhile, has taken on 10,150 sq ft in the Retail Park

Jeweller Beaverbrooks, meanwhile, has also renewed on a 1,868 sq ft space at Atria Watford

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Steve Gray, Head of European Retail Asset Management at Global Mutual, comments:

“We are delighted to welcome a host of new and exciting brands across our centres, and to renew terms with a number of our high profile existing tenants – setting a positive tone for the year ahead.

“The news means we continue to make excellent progress against our three core strategic objectives – improving rent collection, securing our anchor tenants’ leases and adding exciting new footfall drivers to our centres.

“Retail and leisure providers continue to be drawn to our locations – for the high visitor count that they attract, as well as the support we can offer as we navigate an uncertain period.

“Despite the continued disruption brought by lockdowns, physical retail remains a central pillar of brands’ long-term strategies, key to driving sales online as well as in-store. We have seen continued interest in our space from prospective tenants and have a number of further exciting deals in the pipeline.”

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