A massive 940,500 sq ft of retail accommodation comes on board this month with the opening of three malls.

Consolidation in the commercial agency sector is continuing with the news that Atisreal has bought the niche retail consultancy, Parish Dean Partnership, as part of its continued expansion drive. This acquisition will strengthen the French-based consultancy's presence in the retail market and add to its existing portfolio of services.

Crest Nicholson Regeneration has successfully secured development finance for The Atrium, its ambitious £130m mixed-use scheme in Camberley town centre. With more than 50 per cent of the commercial element already pre-let, construction was due to commence at the beginning of October 2006.

British Land has become the first company to invest in an interactive web-based risk management system, installed across its £multi-billion property portfolio. No other company has until now installed such a system.

La Senza and 3 Store, the 3G mobile phone outlet, are the latest tenants to sign for units at Lend Leases's extension to the Golden Square shopping centre in Warrington.

Schroder Exempt Property Unit Trust (SEPUT) has sold The Avenue shopping centre in south-east Glasgow to private investment clients of BTW Shiells for £70m, reflecting an initial yield of 4.72 per cent. The 180,000 sq ft centre comprises M&S, Boots, Next and Asda and a 2.5 acre site for future expansion.

Capital & Regional manages both The Mall portfolio of shopping centres and The Junction portfolio of retail parks. It is increasingly applying the management disciplines of its shopping centre portfolio to its retail parks, leading to a number of innovations for the out-of-town market.

Drake Circus, P&O Estates' and Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund's 560,000-sq ft mall in Plymouth city centre was 90 per cent let on opening day. This is quite an achievement in a tough letting market, and P&O director Graham Corser is clearly relieved to have reached such a benchmark.

After redesigning each of its stores with styish new refits and ensuring a core focus on customer service, T-Mobile is in the process of ambitious expansion plans.

Have you noticed the similarities between politics and shopping? Well I would guess it's probably not the most obvious comparison, particularly when you look at Boris Johnson's dress sense or the staple party political ties.

Autumn is the season for shopping centre openings, and as Shopping Centre went to press three new malls had either just opened or were just about to: the 560,000 sq ft Drake Circus in Plymouth, the 220,500 sq ft Heart of Walton in Walton-on-Thames and the 160,000 sq ft PalaceXchange in Enfield, north London.

Feeling the urge to make hay while the last of the summer sun shone and have an al fresco lunch, we headed for Cheshire Oaks, the well-established McArthurGlen Outlet Centre on the outskirts of Chester, to experience the new format Shere Khan unit, which has been trading for nine months.

From a standing start a decade ago, ING has become one of the leading players in the UK development industry, and this month sees the completion of its latest scheme, the 160,000 sq ft PalaceXchange in Enfield, north London.

Ground-breaking research by BCSC has revealed shopping centres should be attuned to the mindsets of tomorrow's consumers and the ever-increasing presence of 'silver-haired' shoppers.

The showcase at the BCSC conference has become one of the great meeting points for the retail property industry, to such an extent that it now receives equal billing with the conference itself. Owners, occupiers, suppliers and consultants come together in a vibrant mix that generates real business opportunities.

Consumers have grown to expect a lot more from shopping centres than simply a place to shop. 'Lifestyle' is the key word on everyone's lips and shopping centres are striving to make their malls a more appealing option to shoppers who want to be able to spend the day in one location.

While shopping centres are increasingly catching on to the numerous ways they can generate income from their malls, advertising still remains a strong area of growth.

Unique is the main word that springs to mind when talking about The Mill factory outlet centre in Batley, West Yorkshire.

With so many payment options now available on the market there's more for shopping centres to think about when installing a payment system than simply whether to go for pay-and-display or pay-on-foot.

Your shopping centre is constantly on the move. As global warming takes effect and the extremes of temperature in the UK get wider apart, the movement joint details must be carefully selected to ensure that your building remains protected.

At the tender age of 28 Gavin Prior is already operations manager at the MetroCentre in Gateshead, the largest retail and leisure destination in Europe. His move to the centre in January 2006 was the culmination of an 11-year career with Capital Shopping Centres, which began as a junior administrator at the Harlequin centre in Watford.

== ? ASHFORD ==

WARNER ESTATE HOLDINGS has expanded its development team with the recruitment of DAN HOWSON and THOMAS BOOTH and the promotion of KEVIN LEAVER to senior development manager. Dan Howson joins as a senior development manager and brings with him six years of experience at both Henry Boot Developments and Manly International. And Thomas Booth, who joins as a development manager, has three years of experience managing large-scale mixed-use developments for Delfin Lend Lease.

Land Securities treated Londoners to three free days of fashion, food, music and entertainment at Cardinal Place, its newest retail and leisure destination, in Victoria, London SW1.

London Fashion Week may have refused to bow to pressure to ban 'size zero' models from its runways, but plenty of others are opting for a healthier image.

Bluewater has a strong track record in utilising its spectacular location in a disused chalk quarry in North Kent to maximum effect, including using the steep chalk cliff-face as a demonstration track for Land Rover cars.

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