13 Jun 2017

Global Retailers Vision Express And Smiggle Sign At Rockspring’s Friars Square

MMX Retail and Savills (Bristol) have completed two new deals at Friars Square Shopping Centre (“Friars Square”) to global optical retailer Vision Express and Smiggle. Friars Square is owned Rockspring Property Investment Managers LLP’s (“Rockspring”) UK Value 2 fund.

Vision Express has relocated from Hale Leys to a 1,100 sq ft unit at Friars Square on a ten-year lease. With Next recently making the same move, this marks the second relocation from Hale Leys in recent months.

Smiggle, the Australian stationery brand, has signed a lease for a new 711 sq ft unit. Smiggle was recently named the UK’s fastest expanding shopping centre retailer; acquiring 39 stores in the UK last year and looking to acquire approximately 30 to 40 new stores in 2017. It was also named ‘Retailer of the Year’ at the Revo awards in December 2016.

The 300,000 sq ft Friars Square underwent a multi-million pound redevelopment in 2013, which saw it attract new, high-quality brands such as H&M, River Island and Topshop. Next opened a new 22,000 sq ft store in 2016.

Shaun Hose, Assistant Director at Rockspring, said: “These new lettings at Friars Square demonstrate the ongoing confidence of retailers in the scheme. Since Next opened we have seen significantly increased footfall and turnover from our occupiers and we are excited to be welcoming Vision Express and Smiggle to our tenant line up. We are in discussions with a number of additional new retailers and look forward to making further announcements soon.”

Mike Flint, JV & Property Director at Vision Express, commented: “The refurbishment at Friars Square presented a great opportunity for us to relocate to the centre. Our new position at this high-footfall centre will allow us to maximise our presence in Aylesbury, and increase our customer base in the local area.”

Matt Taylor, Leasing Executive at Smiggle, said: “Friars Square is the prime retail destination in Aylesbury and was the natural choice for us as we continue to grow our presence in the UK. We look forward to opening at Friars Square.”

MMX Retail is the joint agent alongside Savills (Bristol) for Rockspring Property Investment Managers’ Friars Square Shopping Centre.