Festival Place announces more crown ‘Joules’


AEW has announced that Joules has signed to open at Festival Place, the 1.1m sq ft retail and leisure destination in the heart of Basingstoke town centre.

The contemporary British countryside lifestyle brand has signed to open its second store in Hampshire in a 3,000sq ft unit at the centre. Acquired by AEW in December 2015, Festival Place is ranked 17th in the Global Data Survey for shopping centre destinations and 21st in 2019 by Trevor Wood Associates. This positions it within the Premier League of shopping centres and is the highest ranked shopping centre outside a major city.

Capturing the essence of British style, Joules is renowned for its high-quality clothing and accessories ranges for the whole family as well as its interiors collections. It will offer customers, from within the North Hampshire catchment, its range of award-winning men’s, women’s, children’s and homeware lines. The new signing will boost the already strong fashion line-up, joining Jack Wills, Fat Face, River Island, Next, Gap, Zara, H&M, Phase Eight and Lipsy.

Andrea Gray, retail and customer experience director at Joules, said: “Festival Place will give us a strong platform within Hampshire to reach our existing online customers and to attract new and affluent consumers. Opening in such an innovative and evolving retail destination gives us great confidence moving forward and we very much look forward to welcoming our wonderful customers to the store as well as being part of the increasingly varied line-up at the centre.” 

The announcement follows an extensive repositioning programme which has helped to attract new and increasingly aspirational brands to the destination. Further demonstrating that the destination is bucking trends when compared to other retail destinations, Festival Place has signed in excess of 80 new tenants since January 2016.

Russell Jewel, head of private equity funds at AEW, said: “Festival Place is continuing to perform extremely well and continues to attract new brands to the destination. Making use of redundant space to diversify the offer has helped us to evolve into a true retail and leisure destination which has been paramount to our ongoing success amidst ongoing troubles within the industry. Illustrating the benefit to our retailers, we’re very proud that more than half our existing tenants have renewed their leases and invested into their stores since we acquired the centre.”

Festival Place is home to more than 200 retail, dining and leisure brands including Apple, Moss Bros, Mountain Warehouse, Oasis and trampoline park Flip Out. Its 27 restaurants include Côte Brasserie, Cosy Club, Ask Italian, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, PizzaExpress, Las Iguanas, The Sushi Maki and Patisserie Valerie.

The new signing will strengthen Festival Place’s position at the heart of the local community and the main destination for shopping and socialising in North Hampshire. With some 1.7 million residents within a 30-minute drive, plus 11,500 office workers within a 10-minute walk, the centre offers even more than retail, dining and leisure. It features a spectrum of additional attractions to appeal to the local community including Basingstoke Sports Centre with swimming pool, gym and over 100 studio classes, a 10-screen Vue Cinema, a Flip Out trampoline park, plus office space and a library with author talks and workshops. 

Some 24 per cent of shoppers now visit more often because the choice of shops has changed and 13 per cent visit do so because of changes to the look-and-feel of the centre, according to CACI research. Shoppers are visiting the centre more frequently with greater dwell time and spend compared to national averages. Additionally, almost half of those visiting Festival Place more frequently do so because of changes to the centre. The amount shoppers are spending, and the average retail spend have both increased when compared to 2016, prior to the refurbishment work commencing.

Joint agents for Festival Place are Lunson Mitchenall and Cushman & Wakefield. CBRE is the managing agent for the centre.