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Summer holidays cause sales in British shopping centres to heat up

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Shopping centre operator Hammerson – which owns properties including Birmingham’s Bullring, Brent Cross and Southampton’s West Quay – has reported as sales increase of 2.9 per cent over the four-week period leading to 18 July.

With the summer holidays underway, the firm’s Retail Tracker detected an 20.8 per cent uplift in sales of toys and games in particular, with Star Wars and My Little Pony products among the bestselling goods.

Figures climbed further still, with sales spiking by 5.4 per cent in the seven days running up to 18 July. The study noted that the restaurant and leisure categories were especially popular, which was attributed to the holiday season beginning and also the end of Ramadan.

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With the restaurant sector in mind, ASK-Zizzi owner Bridgepoint has made a big play for the space with the takeover of dining clubs Tastecard and Gourmet Society. It provides the private equity firm with 4m new customers and comes following Brits spending £78bn on eating out in 2014.

According to Hammerson, restaurant sales had grown by 11.7 per cent at its sites as a result of the warm weather, while dining by the riverside of its Oracle centre in Reading was particularly attractive. 

Elsewhere, sales of jewellery grew by 10.3 per cent as charm bracelets and luxury watches were found to be favoured by shoppers at Brent Cross and Bristol’s Cabot Circus.

“Blockbusters such as Star Wars are often instrumental in driving wider retail trends and it is really quite astounding how early this correlation has begun,” said Hammerson CEO David Atkins.

“It is pleasing that overall sales have remained strong across our regional portfolio. With consumers now feeling the benefit of continued low inflation, meaningful wage growth and low food and commodity prices, confidence is at levels not seen since the 1990s; and we are hopeful that this sales growth momentum will continue.”

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