Land of Leather has ambitious plans to expand to 140 stores by 2012. The value-orientated leather sofa-only retailer - predominently found on retail parks - has already opened 10 stores this financial year and now has 81 stores across the UK and Ireland. And there are already plans in place to open a further three or four over the next nine months.

Many of the leading quoted shopping centre owners have signalled their intention to convert into Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) from January 2007. Up to now this is the sort of thing that has got tax accountants and City analysts excited, but outside that arcane world it's had little impact.

I am writing in response to the article 'A Quay Location' on pages 12-14 of Shopping Centre July edition. In this article there are a number of incorrect statements made about Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet which I feel need to be corrected.

On a swelteringly hot day in Liverpool, this consultant needed refreshment. Not just the usual quick fix of water, but something tasty, nourishing and energy replenishing. So a visit to the Fruit Boost kiosk in Clayton Square shopping centre was in order.

The unique shopping patterns of people in the Highlands has helped ensure Eastgate shopping centre in Inverness has bucked the trend in the current tough retail climate.

Shopping centre refurbishments are all about making life easier for shoppers to move about, making better use of space and ensuring a centre's environment is aesthetically pleasing, thus attracting footfall. As such, entrances, escalators and elevators play an important part in the reshaping of a mall.

The need to work at height is something that cannot be avoided in a shopping centre environment, but it is vital that any work carried out at height is done with great consideration for safety.

== ? Barking ==

Every month Shopping Centre will be taking a more detailed look at the winners in the individual categories in this year's SCEPTRE Awards.

EFM FACILITIES has appointed TONY WILKES as centre manager for the Northfield shopping centre in Birmingham. He was previously a centre and operations manager with Workman Facilities' and the Mall Corporation.

Teeny-pop trio McFly played a live set in the Food Terrace at Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh last month. The band launched their new single with a six-song set played live in the Food Terrace to a screaming crowd of about 2,000, and they then signed 600 autographs in the HMV store.

Two UK shopping centres have made it through to the finals in this year's International Council of Shopping Centers' Maxi Awards. The Maxis are the ultimate accolade for shopping centre marketing campaigns, and this year Meadowhall in Sheffield has two campaigns in the finals: Flash Mob The Opera and Funky Feet. The Paisley shopping centre in Glasgow has been nominated for its 'Read all About It' campaign.

We don't think Steve Cotney, centre manager of Andover's Chantry shopping centre, has quite got the hang of this piracy malarkey.


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