Zara and Jessops to open at Hammerson shopping centres in Birmingham and Reading

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Hammerson has announced that Zara is expanding its presence at Bullring, Birmingham; while photography specialist Jessops has launched its next generation flagship store in The Oracle, Reading.

Zara’s move includes the addition of the Spanish fashion retailer’s new 1,860sq m store on the Upper Level that will consist only of menswear. The existing Zara on the Upper Level will be transformed into a Women and Children’s store across its three floors. The new menswear section will open in time for Christmas.

Zara’s expansion is the latest in a series of key additions to Bullring’s Upper Level this year. Ted Baker and Victoria’s Secret are opening on the Upper Level before Christmas. They join Michael Kors and Whistles, both of whom have opened on the Upper Level this year.

Sarah Mander, assistant director, retail leasing, at Hammerson, said: “We are very pleased that Zara will be expanding its presence at Bullring.  This reflects the centre’s position as the heart of Birmingham’s retail and leisure offer.  The expansion is also key to Hammerson’s focus on securing international brands and bringing new concepts to the UK.”

Jessops’ new Reading store, showcasing the company’s fresh vision for the brand.

Set over two levels with dramatic 6m high glass windows, the 255msq m store includes a Fujifilm Frontier Mini Lab on the ground floor and an Academy Training Room on the mezzanine level, which will host a variety of photography courses for all levels of skill.  In addition, the store provides a consultation area, as well as a wide range of cameras and accessories from the world’s leading brands.  The store is located at the heart of The Oracle, alongside other leading brands including Zara, Five Guys and H&M.

Thestore encapsulates the future of Jessops offering cutting edge equipment and experiences. Working in partnership with retail brand specialists: Liberation Creative Consultants, the new proposition, store design and in-store communications immerse customers in the world of photography. The customer journey begins in the “The Gallery”, a double-height space presenting images from around the world and from here customers are able to touch, try and learn about the very latest imaging technology manufactured by the world’s leading camera brands as well as print their memories in a state-of-the-art “Print Lab”. The store enforces the brand’s heritage and expertise that Jessops customers know and love.

The new flagship, which sets the footprint for future stores and will be the first Jessops to offer a range of Leica products as part of a new collaboration born from a mutual brand philosophy of bringing advice and inspiration to photography enthusiasts.

Neil Old, chief operating officer at Jessops, said: “The opening of our new flagship store really does shine a light on our commitment to our customers’ experience in store. With its innovative design and state of the art equipment coupled with services such as printing, camera trade-in, equipment rental and a wide range of photography courses, all delivered by our expert, friendly staff means we are able to offer everything our customers could possibly need, in a completely unique and exciting environment. We’re looking forward to welcoming the people of Reading into our beautiful new store, which brings to life our ethos of ‘image is everything’.”

Martin Bull, leasing executive at Hammerson, said: “Jessops’ selection of The Oracle for the brand’s new flagship is a testament to the centre’s position as one of the UK’s most successful regional shopping centres.  We have worked very closely with Jessops to deliver their perfect store, including reconfiguring the mall to create a transparent façade that allows visitors to see the unique experience Jessops has created.”

The opening of Jessops at The Oracle takes the number of stores to 31, including the Sainsbury’s concession that has recently opened in Newport. An additional three high street and two additional Sainsbury’s units are set to open in the coming months.