Belfast Telegraph

CastleCourt heads for successful 2016 with new tenants

By Margaret Canning

Belfast shopping centre CastleCourt has said work is under way to secure more lettings in 2016 after 12 new retailers joined this year.

The retail destination has been fighting back after losing ground to Victoria Square shopping centre in recent years.

And the arrival of 12 new tenants during 2015 marks the busiest year for CastleCourt for some time.

A spokesman said the centre was now attracting more shoppers - with centre manager Paul McMahon saying footfall was around "2.5% above the UK average".

It's understood the latest research will show an average UK footfall increase of 1% in November.

There was no vacancy rate available for the centre - though letting agents CBRE said the general vacancy rate for the city's prime retail space is 6%.

New arrivals in to CastleCourt include shoe shop Schuh Kids, as well as Yours Clothing and Bad Rhino - plus-size chains for women and men respectively.

And the latest newcomer is men's fashion chain Jack & Jones, which has taken over a unit formerly occupied by fashion label Gap.

Other openings include value jeweller Warren James, Stewart Travel, value department store Bon Marche, Head Records and Uberfone.

A spokesman said the increase in lettings came after "significant investment" by the landlord. The centre is owned by Hermes property fund.

CBRE has worked with joint lettings agent Savills to secure the tenants. CBRE director of retail, Alana Coyle, said: "We have been focused on bringing new retailers to CastleCourt that meet the requirements of its customer base.

"Throughout the year we have successfully added major household names to the portfolio of over 80 well-known retailers and 15 eateries.

"The centre has never looked stronger and work is already under way for further flagship lettings in 2016."

She added that retail across the city in general had picked up in 2015.

"National and international retailers are now seeing Belfast and Northern Ireland as an attractive place to open new stores."

Mr McMahon added: "In the past year the landlord has invested over £3m in improving the retail mix and customer experience."

Belfast Telegraph