Rockspring and The Other Retail Group secure lettings at two UK shopping centers (UK)

Rockspring Property Investment Managers and its joint venture partner, The Other Retail Group, announce that 64,000 ft² (approx. 5,945 m²) of lettings have been secured at Eastgate Shopping Centre in Gloucester to Marks & Spencer and that 36,300 ft² (approx. 3,370 m²) of lettings have been secured at Howgate Shopping Centre in Falkirk to Wilkinsons.

Marks & Spencer has signed a 35-year lease to take 64,000 ft² at Eastgate Shopping Centre in Gloucester. The new store, which will take a unit previously occupied by Woolworths, will complement existing major tenants including H&M, Republic and JD Sports,. The shopping center comprises 270,000 ft² of retail space, let to over 50 tenants, spread across two floors.

Having acquired the shopping center less than a year ago, this letting is part of a wider strategy of improving the tenant mix at the center, as well as longer-term asset management initiatives, which includes the rebranding of the scheme entrances and reconfiguring and extending a number of the retail units.

Rockspring and The Other Retail Group have also secured Wilkinson's on a 15-year lease for 36,300 ft² at Howgate Shopping Centre in Falkirk. They will take a prime unit formerly occupied by Woolworths and will join anchor tenants including Marks & Spencer, New Look, Debenhams and Argos. The shopping center comprises 190,000 ft² of retail space with 540 car parking spaces and dominates retailing in the town. The letting is part of a wider strategy to decrease void rates at the center, improve the tenant mix and thereby increase footfall.

Both shopping centers were acquired as part of a portfolio of four former Mall Fund assets by Rockspring, in partnership with The Other Retail group, which acts as asset manager. The Other Retail Group provides specialist retail management expertise, and is led by Former Mall Fund director, John Wood and former JER director, Alastair Bell.

The two other shopping centers in the portfolio are Marlands Shopping Centre in Southampton and The Mercury in Romford.

Eric Young & Co advised Rockspring and The Other Retail Group in Falkirk and KLM are the retained agents at Gloucester.

Richard Bains, Rockspring UK Value Fund Manager, said: "Both of these lettings are important elements of our strategy to improve the performance of this portfolio. They will increase the attractiveness of the centers and raise their profile in the local community, thereby driving both footfall and new occupier interest.

"As part of our strategy, we will work with our partners to ensure we keep up this momentum and continue to deliver more key lettings at our shopping centers. To this end we anticipate further announcements at both schemes shortly."

John Wood, Partner at The Other Retail Group, added: "We have focused on securing some high impact changes at the centers as early as possible, and with these major lettings and the rebranding, there has been a very tangible shift in the look and feel of the schemes.

"The progress we have made so far demonstrates our commitment to moving the centers forward for the benefit both of the fund and of the towns in which the assets are located."

Source: FD

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