New owners for Kingfisher centre

By Ian Dipple 04/05 Updated: 04/05 18:52

THE KINGFISHER Shopping Centre has been sold in a deal worth in the region of £130million.

Capital & Regional and Oaktree Capital Management exchanged contracts this week to buy the centre, which has 1million sq ft of retail space, from Scottish Widows Investment Partnership.

The specialist retail property company already runs a shopping centre in Lincoln as well as others under The Mall brand in Luton, Blackburn, Norwich and London, four of The Junction branded retail parks across the country and 22 hypermarkets, DIY and furniture stores and 27 other properties in Germany.

With close to 200,000 people a week passing through the Kingfisher's doors the new owners state they are keen to build on the big name brands already present such as Debenhams, Marks & Spencer and Primark.

A statement issued on the group's behalf said: "C&R have established demand from both retail and leisure operators who are either not currently represented in Redditch or who wish to reformat their existing stores. C&R's asset management plan identifies opportunities to satisfy that demand and to reposition the centre in the minds of shoppers and retailers alike, by building on the existing footfall of almost 200,000 per week."

Part of the plan to move the centre forward will focus on the catering and leisure sector with widely mooted plans to create a food court in the vacant TJ Hughes store by the Apollo Cinema likely to be high up on the list with chicken restaurant Nando's among those being linked with a move to the town.

Hugh Scott-Barrett, chief executive of C&R, said: "This is an exciting acquisition for Capital & Regional which is consistent with our strategic focus on UK retail and dominant, community shopping centres in particular."

Ros Sidaway, chairman of Redditch Town Centre Partnership, said they looked forward to working with the new owners to take the whole of the town centre forward.

"This shows confidence in the town which is important, especially at the moment when there's not much confidence around."

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