Magazine article Marketing

News Analysis: Retail's Olympic Gateway

Magazine article Marketing

News Analysis: Retail's Olympic Gateway

Article excerpt

Stratford City is set to become a destination of choice for shoppers as well as sports fans, writes Jemima Bokaie.

While the retail industry is anticipating the launch of West London shopping mall Westfield London this autumn, its attention will soon shift to the developer's new site on the other side of the city, and the opportunities it presents.

Westfield Stratford City, which is due to open in 2011, will house 300 shops and restaurants. The development will dominate the East London retail catchment, with brands jostling for supremacy with 1.2mft2 site that will form the gateway to London 2012's Olympic Park. The site will also act as a hub for those travelling to the new Stratford International Station, using Eurostar services from Europe.

Marks & Spencer has joined Waitrose and John Lewis to become one of the first retailers to commit to the site. M&S has signed a contract with the developer to establish a flagship store in the area, despite chief executive Sir Stuart Rose's recent announcement that it was 'throttling back' its expenditure programme by pounds 200m.

The 140,000ft2 store will be smaller than the retailer's flagship 170,000ft2 Marble Arch outlet, but will house its full range of clothing, food and homewares.

Waitrose and John Lewis have also committed to anchor stores in the complex, with the latter opening its first branch in East London. The retailer's Oxford Street and Bluewater stores are currently its closest to the area.

Westfield is hoping the Stratford City site will rival London's West End, which is struggling to remain the UK's most attractive shopping destination. Eight UK shopping centres are due to open by 2010. Among these is the Liverpool ONE development, which will house the biggest Debenhams in the UK.

'The Stratford development is expected to put the East End of London in the top 30 UK retail locations by 2017,' says a spokesman for Experian, which collates retail property information about British shopping centres.

Another sector looking to cash in on the regeneration programme, and the expected pounds 2bn boost to tourism revenue, is budget hotels Westfield Stratford City has planning consent for almost 35,000m2 of hotel space across two locations, which are likely to be snapped up by market leaders Premier Inn and Travelodge.

The latter's pounds 1.4bn Olympic growth strategy includes plans to add 200 hotels to its UK portfolio, of which five will serve the Olympic area. …

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