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FRIARS WALK, NEWPORT STARTS NEW YEAR WITH MAJOR SIGNING TO RIVER ISLAND

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Queensberry Real Estate confirms the signing of leading international fashion retailer River Island to its major 390,000 sq ft (36,230 sq m) Friars Walk development in Newport, South Wales. The deal takes Friars Walk to 65% let, well in advance of the opening scheduled for November later this year.

River Island has signed up to a 10,000 sqft unit trading over two floors opposite H&M. The youth fashion retailer, which last year collaborated with pop icon Rihanna for its ‘Rihanna for River Island’ collection, joins a strong and growing line-up of fashion retailers either making their debut or returning to Newport, including a flagship, full-line 93,000 sqft Debenhams department store, Next, Topshop, New Look, and H&M.

With just 11 months to opening, construction of the retail and leisure scheme in the heart of Newport City Centre is now well advanced, with the first units due to be handed over to retailers for fit out in just a few months time.

Friars Walk also incorporates a significant leisure and restaurant offer with the likes of Nandos, Las Iguanas, GBK, Prezzo, and Le Bistrot Pierre all signed up alongside an 8-screen Cineworld multiplex cinema. The combination of retail and leisure close to other leisure offers such as The Riverfront Theatre, Newport Centre, and Rodney Parade rugby and football ground will give people a choice of things to do in close proximity to one another all day and in to the evening.

Stuart Harris, Commercial Director and Co-Founder at Queensberry, said: “River Island is another fantastic addition to our line-up and we have now secured all of the UK’s major High Street fashion brands. Retailers are recognising the huge opportunity a rejuvenated Newport can offer and we now have discussions ongoing on the remaining units with a little less than one year to opening”

“Upon completion of Friars Walk, the latest research* has placed Newport 90th in the Venuescore® rankings - a jump of 108 places. The report also puts Newport’s spend per capita at the highest in Wales, ahead of both Cardiff and nearby Cwmbran, demonstrating the incredible affluence of the catchment and the market potential for retailers.”

Queensberry Real Estate has designed Friars Walk to integrate seamlessly into Newport’s existing High Street retail and leisure offer, as well as to the bridge over to Newport Dragons’ Rodney Parade stadium. Friars Walk will bring more than 390,000 sq ft of modern, well-configured retail and leisure space supported by 360 parking spaces and a major new bus station interchange.

The scheme will provide an estimated 1,200 jobs worth around £15 million in salaries a year to the local economy. This is in addition to the jobs created during the construction phase and the potential for local companies to be involved in the supply chain of the centre.

HDH acted for River Island. Strutt & Parker, Lunson Mitchenall, and Cooke and Arkwright are appointed joint agents for Friars Walk.

* Research from Javelin Group, published 2014.