Shoppers are finally able to enjoy Europe's biggest city centre regeneration project after Grosvenor opened the first and biggest phase of its Liverpool One project at the end of May.

Knight Frank has substantially strengthened its retail exposure with the acquisition of specialist retail agency Markham Vaughan Gillingham.

Land Securities and Hammerson's Bristol Alliance has secured another 11 retailers at Cabot Circus, the one million sq ft retail and leisure destination set to open in Bristol in September 2008.

Plans for a £46m mixed-use scheme on the site of the former Outokumpu steelworks site in Stocksbridge, have been submitted to Sheffield City Council.

The Trafford Centre's new homewares-focussed extension, Barton Square, has signed a range of new brands including Marks & Spencer Home; the first HomeSense store in the north, a tri-branded Moben Sharps and Dolphin store, the first Natuzzi store in the north-west and a new branch for Laura Ashley. They join existing occupiers Dwell, Next Home, Bhs, and Habitat.

Hamleys is to open its first Irish store at Dundrum, Dublin. And Bose and Gerry Weber have also signed up for stores.

More than 1.25 million sq m of shopping centre space is due to open in the UK between now and the end of 2009 - equivalent in size to over eight Bluewaters - according to the new European Shopping Centre Development report from global real estate adviser Cushman & Wakefield.

Two years down the line since the last piece of research was carried out, Shopping Centre has again teamed up with the UK's leading destination marketing agency for retail, travel and leisure, Fox Kalamaski, to undertake another survey into the attitudes of people in the shopping centre profession.

When the wraps finally came off Liverpool One a fortnight ago it was immediately clear that Grosvenor and its development team have created an architectural triumph. The scheme has a real sense of place and has created some very attractive spaces in the middle of a busy city centre.

Photo-Me International Plc is the world leader in the operation of photobooths.

The opening of Grosvenor's Liverpool One project has finally begun, with the completion of a million sq ft of retail in the heart of the city. At the end of May the centre's John Lewis and Debenhams stores opened, as did Paradise Street and South John Street, which connect them.

Shopping centres across the UK are upping their game when it comes to the cleanliness of their malls. Westfield Merry Hill and McArthurGlen's Swindon Designer Outlet were both congratulated for the cleanliness of their malls at this year's BCSC ACE Awards.

Environmental and sustainable activity in the retail sector is a high priority, with most major retailers making it top of their agenda.

The Mall Corporation has acquired the multi-storey car park at The Mall Chester from NCP as part of its plan to brand all its shopping centre car parks in The Mall livery.

Q-Park's former CEO, Alan Ashbee, has launched Parking Man - a full scope corporate level consultancy service for the parking sector - as announced at Parkex.

Berry Brisafe's Perimeter Edge System was chosen to protect cars and pedestrians visiting IKEA in Belfast.

Brent Cross recently joined forces with car park management company Creative Car Parks in a month-long campaign to overcome the centre's problem with staff parking.

Disabled parking bays are frequently a cause for controversy in the shopping centre industry. Whether it's people abusing the spaces reserved for blue badge holders or concerns expressed over limited provision, it is time for a radical overhaul of both the management and provision of these vital parking spots.

Shopping centre and retail park landlords are recognising the importance in achieving the Park Mark safer parking award in order to instill confidence in their customers. And this year has already seen a spate of these awards - run by the British Parking Association, and supported by the Home Office - earned by car park operators.

Payment machines on the market are getting far more sophisticated, giving shoppers greater choice of payment method and saving them from spending more time than necessary in the car park.

Pressure is on for shopping centre owners to encourage their customers to ditch the car and travel by public transport, bike or by foot to do their shopping. But for centres that operate car parks, it's important that shoppers still arrive by car. However, there are a number of ways they can ensure their car parks are as green as possible.

While refurbished car parks are never quite as impressive as the new-build multi-storeys that we have seen come out of the ground in the past decade, the multi-storey car park at Edmonton Green shopping centre in north London is a fine example of how a 1960s structure can be transformed into a light, safe and attractive facility that can hold its head alongside its 21st century counterparts.

Customers have been flocking to County Square in Ashford, from across the region since ING opened the extension to the Kent scheme in March, almost doubling the size of the existing shopping centre.

Meadowhall is often deemed one of the most environmentally-aware malls in the country, with a number of unique initiatives ensuring the centre stands out from its rivals when it comes to sustainability.

Readers of Shopping Centre and Shopping Centre Ireland are invited to vote for their favourite retailer and developer. The winners' outstanding contributions to the shopping centre scene across the island of Ireland will be recognised at the awards dinner in Dublin's Conrad Hotel on 18 September 2008.

== ? Basingstoke ==

PRUPIM has appointed NICK EARLY as the commercialisation director in its asset management team. He joins PRUPIM after having worked for two and a half years at DX3, a digital music technology company, and prior to that three and a half years at Carphone Warehouse.

Seeing as we haven't yet opted for a Scandinavian-style bicycling royalty, our royals don't get to see the inside of shopping centres very often, but in May and June three of them visited our newest and biggest malls.

At the end of May the cast and crew of BAFTA award-winning programme Spooks flocked down to the Surrey Quays shopping centre to film episode six of a new series. The well known and popular BBC1 drama is based around the shadowy world of MI5 and spies.

An unusual pet bakery business has been selected as Britain's best new retail concept in the Make Your Mark competition sponsored by The Mall and RBS.

DTZ director Eileen Connolly has won one of the shopping centre industry's highest honours - the ICSC's Trustees Distinguished Service Award.

Outlet operator McArthurGlen is taking a life-sized elephant sculpture on a 3,000km journey across the Alps to Italy, stopping off at six of its centres on the way.

With its stylish and sophisticated boulevard, acres of glazing, exposed brickwork and quality mix of retail and foodservice offers, thoughts of the Victoria Quarter, Leeds or Hays Galleria come to mind. It's only the departure signs for Paris Nord and Brussels that confirm that this is St Pancras International, the new multi-million pound home to Eurostar. And what a home it is!

Having started life on the high street, Giraffe decided a couple of years ago to bring its family-friendly restaurant concept to the shopping centre environment. But instead of replicating its high-street menu, the restaurant chain has enjoyed huge success with a menu designed specifically for fast-paced shopping centre clientele.

So it's fare thee well to all my loyal readers, Sid & Doris Bonkers.

For all the talk of hoody bans, young teenagers are an important demographic for shopping centres, not only because this is the age when they first shop on their own, and form preferences that can last a lifetime, but because they can influence where a family chooses to shop.

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