Despite the prevailing uncertainty pre-Christmas, Festival Place (Basingstoke) demonstrated positive trading performances for 2021 and during December, reflecting its continued resilience and relevance as a key retail and leisure destination within its wider catchment area.
In December 2021, Festival Place experienced a 13.4% increase in the total number of visitors compared to the previous year.
Despite the rapid spread of the Omicron variant and the introduction of Plan B guidance by the government in December 2021, the total number of visitors to Festival Place in the month commencing 28 November 2021 increased by 36.8% vs 2020 while monthly sales were up 37.3% year-on-year. The F&B and leisure category saw growth vs. 2020, while more than half of the Centre’s retailers saw average transaction value increase vs 2019.
Changing consumer habits – driven by the increase in home working – has also had a positive impact on the centre, with a more even balance of trading between weekdays and weekends. In particular, there has been a 26.3% increase in visitor numbers on Wednesdays.
Neil Churchill, Centre Director at Festival Place, said: “While the impact of COVID-19 on the industry continues to unfold almost two years after the pandemic struck, Festival Place has maintained a strong trading profile, outperforming the UK Shopping Centre Benchmark during retail’s peak period. These encouraging trading figures are testament to a significant asset management effort and a strategic leasing plan that has continued to evolve and improve the Festival Place offer.”
Following a successful trading period post-lockdown, more than 20 new leases/lease renewals were agreed during 2021. Retail lettings at Festival Place have included Five Guys, Skechers and Monsoon Accessorize, while Five Guys is the latest F&B brand to have signed up and open.
Having launched in October 2002, Festival Place was acquired by AEW in 2015 and is the highest ranked shopping centre outside a major UK city. It is listed in the top 25 of the latest Global Data’s UK shopping centres report and sits within Trevor Wood Associates’ Premier League of shopping centres. The 1.1 million sq. ft retail and leisure destination features retail, dining and leisure brands such as Apple, Next, SuperDry, TKMaxx, Pandora, Jack Wills, JD Sports and Fat Face alongside amenities including a Sports Centre with swimming pool and gym, a 10-screen Vue Cinema, a Flip Out trampoline park, Escape and indoor entertainment experience plus office space and a library.
Joint agents for Festival Place are Lunson Mitchenall and Cushman & Wakefield. CBRE is the managing agent for the centre.