Two of the world's biggest shopping centre owners are building stakes in Liberty International, parent company of Capital Shopping Centres, and City observers believe Westfield and Simon Property Group could be jockeying for position ahead of a bid for the UK's number one owner of regional malls.

F&C Property has sold the Lion Walk shopping centre in Colchester, Essex to LaSalle Investment Management for £69m

Warner Estate and Aylesbury Vale District Council have signed the formal development agreement for the mixed-use Waterside Shopping regeneration project in Aylesbury town centre.

Modus opened its newly-extended Houndshill shopping centre in Blackpool last month, tripling the size of the existing scheme to 398,000 sq ft.

A Wear, Ireland's top female fashion brand, has opened its first UK standalone store at Highcross Leicester, and it has already signed two more deals as part of a UK-wide acquisitions programme.

Joe O'Reilly's Chartered Land has lodged a planning application with Fingal County Council to expand its Swords Pavilions shopping centre. The E1bn investment will add over 100 small and large retail units, two flagship department stores for Marks & Spencer and House of Fraser, almost 200 residential units and four blocks of office space with associated car parking to the existing centre.

Arcadia Group has confirmed it is to open two double-store units at The Elements in Livingston, housing retailers Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins and Burton. The Elements - Land Securities' new £130m shopping centre - will open its doors on 16 October this year.

In a contra-cyclical move Standard Life Investments and Shearer Property Group are to start construction this autumn on their £130m Parkway development in Newbury, Berkshire.

BCSC has updated its research on the importance of the retail property sector in the UK economy. The report highlights the shift in the nature of shopping places away from the out-of-town model towards town centre developments.

September is proving to be a busy month for Hammerson. The developer, in partnership with Land Securities, is gearing up for the opening of Cabot Circus in Bristol on September 25, while only last week, in partnership with Hermes, it launched the long-awaited Highcross Leicester.

We've not had much of a summer to speak of, so for once September doesn't seem too premature to start thinking about Christmas.

Designer nursery brand Mamas & Papas is one of very few retailers riding the waves of the current economic downturn. In fact the retailer is doing so well that it has announced the locations of a number of new stores in a major retail expansion programme.

In recent years Cardiff's Docklands has seen a remarkable renaissance, bringing life back into an area that had seen decades of decline. Iconic new structures have helped place the Welsh capital on the international cultural map, and none is more prominent than the Wales Millennium Centre.

It's 10 months since Bride Hall and Warner Estate opened the £30m shopping centre Bouverie Place in Folkestone, and the 25-unit scheme has given a welcome boost to trading in the town centre.

Shopping centres from London to Glasgow have been investing in refurbishing their car park facilities, at a time when many owners are investing in their current stock instead of developing or buying anything new.

With consumer spending squeezed by increasing food and fuel bills and retail sales falling, shopping centres are having to work harder than ever to attract customers. Fuel consumption and car park charging are likely to be the key barriers stopping shoppers from visiting their usual retail centre as they are forced to tighten their belts and save a few pennies.

Liverpool One is the largest regeneration project to open in Europe this year, so it may not come as a surprise that three car parks with a total of 3,000 spaces have been built to cater for the thousands of shoppers visiting the scheme every day.

With its distinctive black and red logo, Q-Park is a recognisable brand in many of the UK's city centres, including Glasgow, Belfast, Liverpool and Sheffield.

Putting cars in your car park may not sound like the most innovative idea - after all, isn't that what a car park is for? But when you add in branded stands, simulators, off-road experiences and motorbike rides, the picture changes.

== Shopping Centre Developer of the Year: Westfield ==

== ? Amersham ==

Integrated communication solutions provider ZENITEL has appointed ROB RENTENAAR as country manager at its headquarters in Brussels. He has occupied several sales and marketing management functions for 3COM Benelux and has been country manager Benelux since 2004.

Thousands of shoppers flocked to the highly-anticipated launch of Highcross Leicester last week when Hammerson and Hermes opened the 320,000-sq ft extension to the existing city centre scheme.

Six-year-old Hollie Campbell from Barrhead couldn't believe her eyes when she bumped into a giant sculpture made from recycled junk in the middle of the Braehead shopping centre near Glasgow.

Castlepoint, Bournemouth's premier shopping park, held its family fun day held on Saturday 16 August to raise funds for the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance. Retailers and Castlepoint's own staff created challenges, competitions and stalls in the malls to support the shopping park's charity of the year.

Ocean Terminal shopping centre in Leith hosted three Asian-themed art exhibitions as part of the Edinburgh Mela Festival last month. The top floor of the shopping centre was transformed into a gallery and one of the exhibitions, 'Soho Road to the Punjab' was a Scottish premiere. It tells the story, through a photographic showcase, of the emergence of contemporary bhangra music in the UK.

As Shopping Centre went to press Dave Chadfield, centre manager at Coopers Square in Burton-on-Trent, was battling the storms to cycle more than 300 miles in three days. His aim was to help raise money towards a £7,000 target to build the first Footprints Orphanage in the Shimba Hills, near Mombasa in Kenya.

As ever we aim to bring you up to the minute news, and this month Food Feedback comes from Leicester. On 4 September 2008, Highcross opened and the Showcase Cinema De Lux also previewed its new offer to the city.

Wayfinding signage is vital to make a shopping centre safe and easy to navigate. Frustrated shoppers, who can't find their way out of the car park or struggle to locate the toilets, may decide not to return. Hence, getting it right is paramount.

During this period of economic belt-tightening, the shopping habits of consumers have become of keen interest to retailers and centre managers. Customer evaluation company Retail Eyes has turned the spotlight on consumer behaviour and the factors that influence people's decision to visit a shopping centre as opposed to frequenting the high street. Retail Eyes conducted its survey, completed by 3,298 respondents, between 1 and 3 August 2008.


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