Research conducted by specialist retail consultant Harper Dennis Hobbs (HDH), suggests Westfield and Hammerson’s Croydon new shopping development could generate an annual turnover of £745m (Ex-VAT) and boost the town’s potential retail spend by a staggering 53%.
The £1.bn scheme was given the go-ahead by the Mayor of London in January and will transform the local retail landscape with more than 300 shops, restaurants and cafes, together with a new multi-screen cinema and bowling alley. The project, developed by Hammerson and Westfield, will also provide 40,000 sq ft of offices and nearly 1,000 new homes.
HDH’s research assesses the impact of what is the largest redevelopment of its kind in the UK. The Croydon scheme will redefine the town’s shopping offer, adding 500,000 sq ft of retail, restaurants and bars. HDH predict that on completion in 2022, the development could drastically boost the town’s retail spend potential to £2.7bn. Croydon’s catchment will expand significantly to the south east and south west into Bromley and Wimbledon.
Although the scheme will still be constrained by Kingston-upon-Thames to the west, Bluewater shopping centre to the east and central London to the north, it will help Croydon compete with neighbouring centres and assert its position as a leading retail destination.
The future potential retail spend has been compared to London’s two existing Westfield shopping centres and indicates that the Croydon scheme would rank second overall, between Westfield London and Westfield Stratford. This reflects the significance of the development within the regional market, particularly as HDH’s modelling takes into account extensions planned at the other two schemes.
Analysts also assessed the impact within the Croydon market of such a huge injection of new retail space. At present the town’s Whitgift and Centrale shopping centres generate 54% of total turnover in Croydon town centre. However, after completion, the new centre is predicted to generate 75% of total turnover in Croydon, with an annual turnover of £745 million. The findings also indicate that average gross sales densities across the town will increase by 15%.
Inevitably, there will be losers as well as winners and the development will have a detrimental effect on some parts of the town. HDH’s research suggests that although overall gross sales density increases in Croydon, some areas will have to adapt and improve their offer to respond to the challenges posed by the new scheme.
Jonathan De Mello, head of retail consultancy at HDH, commented: “Croydon would hugely benefit from the addition of the new scheme, stimulating the local economy and making Croydon south London’s regional shopping destination. Our gravity modelling demonstrates the potential success that Westfield Croydon would bring, suggesting it would essentially replicate the transformation seen in Stratford after the development of Westfield Stratford and White City after the development of Westfield London.”