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Retail, stations and 'destination thinking'

Las Arenas in Barcelona - a former bullring now a new retail and leisure development designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour with links to the Espanya Metro station.

With the BBC reporting that the department store, John Lewis, has fallen to a half-year loss with a warning that a no-deal Brexit will have a significant impact, the current and future model for retail in the UK and Europe, will be discussed at our September forum next week.

Research from PwC and the Local Data Company also stated this week that about 16 shops are closing every day with a net figure of 1,234 stores shutting on Britain's top 500 high streets in the first half of this year. Fashion retailers along with restaurants and pubs were hardest hit.

So the boost to new retail in stations where consumers might be tempted by 'destination shopping' may be a beacon of light in the otherwise bleak world of consumerism. Adrian Lee, Development Director at LCR Property will be talking about new developments at Waterloo.London and Mayfield in Manchester at our forum along with Stuart Robinson, a highly experienced planner, who is advising TfL on all its current station projects.

Ivan Harbour, Partner at Rogers Stirk Harbour, will be contrasting transport linked retail developments at Ashford, Kent - built in the controversial American model of out of town shopping - with the revitalised former bull ring in Barcelona as a major new mixed-use leisure, entertainment and office complex.

The Las Arenas bullring built at the end of the 19th century fell into disuse during the 1970s due to declining popularity of bull fighting in Catalonia, but the council decided not to demolish the façade (above) and Rogers Stirk Harbour re-established the building as a striking landmark for the city. A communications tower reinforces the presence of the bullring and at its base provides direct access from the Metro Espanya.

Our fourth member of the panel is Dominic Curran, Head of Property at the British Retail Association. Dominic will be discussing the important issues of business rates, long term tax reform, better relationships between occupiers and landlords and local partnerships, and why these have to work in parallel with a greater focus on entertainment and creating 'experiences' for customers.

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