Perhaps they (landsec and capital) were assuming similar spend per unit footfall as in other similar developments. This is clearly not happening. Here in Wales we have much lower disposable income than elsewhere so, just a hunch, people aren't going to be buying as much from glitzy new stores and will stick with peacocks, h&m and so on.
Disposable income isn't that much lower in Wales than in the rest of the UK actually - once you account for housing costs. I think it is something like 90 - 95% of the UK average. And Cardiff's catchment area would tend to outperform that given it draws most from the city, the Vale, and relatively better off parts of the lower Valleys. So I don't think its a disposable income story.
I think there is something in Welsh people being less focused on fashion spending, and more focused on their homes, gardens, and 2 weeks in the sun.
But I don't think that can explain things. I think it must just be down to over-estimating how attractive St Davids would be to people. They thought people who were shopping elsewhere would be more likely to go to Cardiff now. And that just doesn't seem to have happened as much as they hoped.
Hope things pick up in the years ahead, as Cardiff is the only retail centre of any quality in Wales. It would be a shame if it went into a downward spiral.
I've always found Brits to be a pretty badly dressed bunch to be honest. It's a very sheeple oriented clothes culture - Hollister tops, H&M & Primark rule on the streets here. It's a mystery to me what happens to all the nice clothes that I see on the pegs in some of the shops - they certainly never seem to be on the backs of most people who are walking the streets of our fair city. On a separate note, I saw a handsome young professional on the TV last weekend whilst sitting in my hotel room in Amsterdam - well done - you've gone global!
Another one bites the dust...
Dwell has shut down nationally. Shame, as it had some really good products, and whilst definitely on the "premium" side of high street furnishings, it wasn't crazy-crazy prices. Room for another bra and knicker shop I suppose but not big enough for Victoria's Secret, who might be expanding further in the UK (now in Leeds as well as London).
Disappointed to see the amount of empty units and store closures as i walked through the centre today!
Ann Harvey, Dash, That's Entertainment, Republic and Dwell are the latest departures! Hoardings are up for CEX - not a particularly overwhelming signing however atleast its filling up a considerable amount of dead space down that neck of the woods!
Looking forward to Bose and The White Company opening mind :)
There could be further stormy weather for SD2. Internacionale and Modelzone have both gone into administration.
Also went past Essential yesterday. A sign in their window says that the nearest store can be located in Cribbs Causeway which suggests that they will not be relocating somewhere else in Cardiff.
Internacionale = no loss. Was from Capitol anyway!
Speaking of which how did we manage to lose United Colours of Benitton, just before st davids opened, and they didnt come back??
Bennetton was in The Capitol and closed about a 6 months/a year ago. Never saw many people in there.
I think it used to be on Queen St near the castle end and closed there years before it re-opened again, don't think it was ever in St. David's though.
Looks like Jessops have secured their old store on Churchill way. Stickers on the windows saying "Back in a Flash"
Hoardings up for Bose, Blott and White Company in SD2. Cex has now opened near to Barclays in the old part of the centre.
On the downside there is a sign saying that Modelzone is closing down.
I'm pretty sure I read that Modelzone went into administration, buyer found for wholesale business but not retail.
Looks like Kingdom of Sweets has closed down. Been a tough few months for St Davids.
Not surprised at all. How on earth they thought they could support prime rents, I'll never know.
St Davids really does scrape the barrel with what must be some dodgy covenants. Shows just how hard it is for it to get quality retailers. And the city still is missing LOADS.
Dwell is also still fully stocked... whilst some in London and the one in Manc have been vacated...
More evidence of poor sales in St Davids, this time from John Lewis:
After looking at the sales list several times, I think that its ordered so that those giving the biggest cash-terms (not percetnage terms) increase are higher up the list.
Now Cardiff's sales apparently increased by 23% year-on-year last week, which unsurprisingly puts it quite a long way up. But even higher are stoes like Cheadle (up 10.1%), Kingston (10.3%), Cribbs (13.0%), and Bluewater (10.7%). So even though Cardiff has generated more than double the %-point increase in sales, the cash terms increase is smaller. Which suggests sales in the Cardiff store are less than half what they are in these stores. Oxford Circus finishes higher up the league with only a 3.2% increase: OK, this is the flagship store, but Cardiff is second only to it in size and seems to be delivering only 1/8th of the sales!!!!!
I might be wrong, maybe there is some randomness in the rankings.. but I think I'm right. And if I am, it is potentially worrying for St Davids and for Cardiff if it wants to pull in stores not yet represented in the city. If even John Lewis, household name, struggles, what about less-well-known upper-middle market brands? A slightly more charitable interpretation is that Cardiff hasn't got a culture of shopping for Furniture and electronics in-town (Fashion is quite a small part of John Lewis's offer)... and that John Lewis is struggling to change that. But if that is the case, John Lewis might decide to pull out at some point in the future which would leave a massive void that would be very unlikely to be filled.
I was in St Davids for the first time in a couple of months the other day, and God it's looking grim in places. The original section is now seemingly half empty, and SD2 is not exactly brilliant either. The jewellers Beaverbrooks are having a closing down sale, and upstairs seems much quieter without Republic.
I think "grim" is laying it on a bit thick as I think the occupancy rates, including stores let but not yet open (such as Primark) is still around 93-94% even after Republic, Modelzone, Dwell etc shut down. That's not the 96 - 98% that is typical of the best performing non-London centres, but its not far off. I think things look worse than they are in part because the empty units are concentrated in a few stretches, and because the old BHS unit makes it look like there is a big stonking void, which is in fact, in the process of being done up for a new tenant.
Looks like a few new stores will be opening in the coming months, as a few were in solicitors hands as of 05/13. Given I think Beaverbrooks are still a going concern, them closing might be for another store to open... its quite hard to close a store without going to administration whilst in the middle of a tenancy (which was probably 10 years - i.e. to 2019).
As I said, I think things aren't great in the centre, and sales are definitely well below where St Davids thought they would be. But it is holding up reasonably well in terms of occupancy, and continues to be a relative success on the Welsh retail scene.
I would agree that SD2 is not grim. Queens Arcade, maybe. What ever happened to their rear extension to accommodate - was it Wilkinson?
Two new stores confirmed as opening:
Ecco footwear to open in St David's Way opposite Boots and next to Card Factory.
Castle Fine Art to open on the Grand Arcade between White Stuff and Coast. Does this mean they will close their Mermaid Quay store?
Still waiting for news on a big new store opening opposite CEX - taking 3 or 4 of the existing units.
Jeweller carnage in St Davids at the moment with Goldsmiths shut and Beaverbrooks holding a closing down sale.
There's an August lettings plan on the Intu website.
Only one new name, Clogau, which is replacing Beaverbrooks.
The 3 units opposite Boots on Cathedral Walk are in negotiation after being empty for years. No name for the 4 units opposite Build a Bear Workshop as yet.
The 'Forever 21' unit is in negotiation again, although quite possibly not with them.
The Republic unit is in solicitors hands which is a quick turnaround.
Dwell is shown as available and the big unit between John Lewis and Hush Puppies is available again.
Looking a bit better overall though I reckon.
Thanks Simon for bringing that to our attention! I completely forgot to check the Intu website for any updates of recent! Really good news to see theres some interest in the units opposite Boots - I think the predicted increase of footfall in this area of the centre as a result of Primark opening could have something to do with the sudden interest!
Good to here about the immediate replacement for the Beaverbrooks unit. As an independent store in the Grand Arcade, I really do hope Clogau survive and trade well in this unit!
Came across this article on Drapers, which interested me!
"Young fashion brand Scotch & Soda is primed for UK retail expansion after opening its third London store this week.
On Thursday the Dutch brand launched its 590 sq ft flagship at 13-14 Carnaby Street. It already has two stores on London’s Westbourne Grove: one for Scotch & Soda and another for its sister womenswear label Maison Scotch.
Matt Hyland, a partner at property firm Cushman & Wakefield’s retail team, which acts for Scotch & Soda, said it was planning to open three or four more stores in London and then look at key towns around the UK.
Target locations in the capital have “strong footfall or great architecture” and include Covent Garden. Brighton and Edinburgh will be among the first cities to be targeted further afield, but Drapers understands Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Cardiff are also on the agenda."
Scotch & Soda would be a great addition to the city, so I hope the expansion goes ahead! Would be nice to see a new name in the city rather than the same old high street chains... I visited the Westbourne Grove store and was pleasantly surprised by how tasteful the clothing range was and how good the store looked. I hoped a Cardiff store would be on the arisen, so this possible interest in Cardiff is very pleasing!!!
It looks like a Cardiff City shop is opening in the unit formerly occupied by Ecosway in St Davids.
I've always wondered why Queens Arcade and St David's don't both use the St David's brand to push it up the league table in terms of square footage.
I can see some small benefit for Queen's Arcade, but why St Davids? Retailers don't care about these square-footage ranks. They care about £s through tills. For St Davids all it would do would confuse potential tenants and potentially dilute their brand given the crapness of the retail offer in Queen's Arcade atm.
If I was St Davids I would want to distance myself from any association with Queens Arcade. It's bloody awful, and really downmarket at the moment. All it needs is Argos, the Post Office or New Look to jump ship to really put it in trouble.
The application for a new entrance for the Working St elevation with a re-working of the units to accommodate a Wilkinsons amongst others was about two years ago and so far nothing has happened. I don't know what that means other than clearly Wilkinsons are not that desperate to go there and without them or a similar retailer the proposed re-modelling works are too much of a risk financially.
I also think Cardiff is simply not big enough to sustain the number of malls it has. St Davids encompasses the full range of the High St from higher end to bog standard value retailers and everything in between which doesn't leave much left for Capitol and Queens Arcade. Capitol seem to have taken a view and are now prepared to give over large amounts of space to the likes of Poundworld, Tesco, Easy Gym etc which suggests to me that they are no longer trying to compete with St Davids. That leaves Queens Arcade between a rock and a hard place I think. I don't see a great future for it but likewise I can't see that site being converted to residential or offices either.
In the eyes of the majority of the public, it's all one big mall in my opinion.
St Davids could do worse than buy out whoeever owns Queens Arcade.
That would be a disaster for them in my opinion. They have a number of units in the existing St Davids that appear to be unlettable which surely gives them an indication of the retail market in Cardiff at the moment. Why would they want more units that are virtually unlettable? Plus the cost of refurbishing/re-modelling Queens Arcade so that it is consistent with the existing mall and has the type of units that are marketable?
There are signs up in the old Republic unit for DV8. As far as I can see they appear to be an Irish fashion retailer pitching somewhere between Blue Inc and USC. This appears to be their first store in mainland UK.
May be of interest to some of you... Here's the most recent Land Securities letting brochure!
St Davids is delighted to announce that an exciting new retailer is to open on Cathedral Walk next to Swarovski crystals.
New to Cathedral Walk and taking only its third store in the centre, The Perfume Shop will open in time for the Christmas rush, and offers all of last seasons "must have" fragrances. The new store means you no longer have to bear the indignity of walking the 100m to the company's existing store opposite Greggs or the very similar Fragrance Shop at the central rotunda: and with the energy saved you'll no longer need that Yorkie and can splash out on One Direction or Justin Bieber's new fragrance for your missus. Thats right, your lady can smell like a boyband courtesy of our exciting new retailer.
With new exciting retailers to announce in the coming decades we're sure the 21st century will be great for St Davids and Cardiff!
Hang on, if theres an additional Perfume Shop opening in the centre, doesnt that make a total of 4 The Perfume Shops in the centre? Or is this a complete joke (fingers crossed its a joke)!!
No its true. There is a planning application in for the shop-front and signage.
And you're right - it looks like the 4th.. and its just a couple of stores down from the other one they have on Cathedral Walk. Looks like I didn't look close enough.. its not their "first store in the Cathedral Walk".. but their second! Perhaps they are moving to free up a unit for someone else.. we can hope!
This is great news, if like mine your missus absolutely reeks.
There are also hoardings up for the two units that were occupied by Dash and Ann Harvey in St Davids Way (opposite Boots and just up from Debenhams). Anyone know whats going there?
I looked at the SD letting plan recently. I know that they are not that up to date but they do have units 8-14 of St Davids Way (the part closest to Barclays bank) listed as being in solicitors hands and I think I recall someone saying that those 4 units were being knocked into one. Does anyone know the identity of the proposed retailer?
I was wondering whether it was M&Co relocating from Queen St as a phone shop moves into their existing store. M&Co are recruiting for a store manager and staff so looks like the are relocating rather than pulling out. So they are a possibility for either the 4 units (being knocked into one) or the former Dash and Ann Harvey units...
For a while now, there's been talk about "Simply Be" opening a store.. They are size 14 - 32 retailer for women and so should have a good market in South Wales! Currently have stores in White Rose, Leeds; Arndale, Manchester; Liverpool One, Liverpool; and Metrocentre, Gateshead. Cardiff (and Glasgow) would seem like obvious next steps for them.
simply be are opening opposite boots, next to 3 (the hoardings are up). The perfume shop next to Vodafone is closing, Ernest Jones are going to expand into the unit and have a refit - that's what I've heard anyway!
Yes, looks like the store map has been updated...
Three new openings actually..
Looks like "Simply Be" is being branded as "Yours" and is next to Three.
Next door to that, is going to be "Tiger" which is a Danish brik-a-brak store. One has opened recently on Tottenham Court Rd near where I work. It sells a range of homeware, stationery, gifts, etc, and has a style a bit like a cross between Paperchase and Poundland.
Lansdown is opening in the Grand Arcade and is a relatively upmarket independent women's store which started off selling "country" clothing (and I mean proper upmarket country stuff for riding, hunting) and is now expanding into evening and social wear. Be interesting to see if its successful. Its based in Carmarthen where the shopper is quite different to Cardiff.. but maybe there is enough custom in Cardiff from the Vale, Monmouthshire and long-distance from rural Wales and Herefordshire for it to work.
Party Fiesta is also opening a unit. The map is faulty and puts it in the same place as Krispy Kreme but it could go in one of the empty units on that stretch of Town Wall South.
There is also a plus size retailer opening in one of the many vacant Capitol units, although I forget the name.
does anyone think that the four amalgamated units in St Davids Way could be the new M&Co location? M&Co must be relocating out of Queen Street and I cant imagine them moving into the Grand Arcade...
However would the large unit be to big for M&Co? Maybe they'll be relocating to 33 Town Wall?
Its very pleasing to see SD1 filling up nicely... I think the addition of Primark could have something to do with the recent up take of units on St Davids Way!
Lansdowne and DV8 were open yesterday. DV8 don't seem to have done anything to the old Republic unit, just moved their stuff in.
All Gilly Hicks stores are set to close down!
Announcement made today by CEO Mike Jeffries!
Which means the Cardiff branch will be closing in January sometime!
This is actually devastating news... Its one of the major stores at St Davids & was a coup for St Davids! Shame to see it go, will certainly be a shame to see the video fronted store disappear :/ It certainly does look great...
I work for A&F and I have a strong feeling that Hollister will take over the GH store! Hollister stores are all going Video Fronted and I dont think A&F will waste the opportunity to have a Screen Store... Hollister have out grown their current St Davids unit and I think the GH MSU would be much more ideal to Hollister
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