Brent Cross bucks retail trend

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Despite some signs of a slowing in the wider economy, Brent Cross Shopping Centre has reported a strong quarter.

Bucking the wider trend, the Centre claims its customers are shopping strategically. They are buying in Brent Cross’s mix of upper-middle market stores and looking for quality and luxury purchases ahead of today’s Spending Review and VAT increase, due to come into effect in January 2011, it says.

The Centre has seen an increase in sales since May this year, with a particular focus on fashion, homewares and technology. Initially driven by the World Cup, where customers were investing in new flat screen TVs and hand-held devices, sales have remained strong since.

Head of marketing, Norman Black, said: “After a very difficult 2009, we are pleased to see sales well up compared to this time last year. Thanks to the World Cup effect we expected, we had a good summer.

“With sales holding up strongly since then, we believe one of the impacting factors is because our customers are apprehensive about the forthcoming Spending Review and January’s VAT increase, so they’re spending now on quality items before they have to pay more or have less disposable income.

“Fashion and technology have performed well since the start of the summer, but last month also showed a very strong performance for homewares. It’s a little early to tell, but this could be a result of house prices starting to fall again, so people are deciding to do up their homes and stay put rather than move.”