The discount fashion retailer Primark is poised to sign up for a huge store in a new shopping centre in Cardiff, which is opening today with half of its outlets empty.
Primark is in negotiations to open a 100,000 sq ft outlet in St David's 2, a massive £675m extension to Cardiff's existing shopping centre. It has already signed up John Lewis, Apple, Kurt Geiger, LK Bennett and Hollister, the sister brand of Abercrombie and Fitch.
The new centre is a joint development between Land Securities and Capital Shopping Centres, operating as the St David's Partnership.
Primark, which is owned by Associated British Foods, would provide a huge boost to the centre by attracting not only customers but also new retailers. The fact that it is eyeing the site, despite having an existing store a few minutes down the road, demonstrates the centre's appeal. Land Securities and Primark declined to comment.
The St David's extension has struggled to sign up retailers, who have baulked at committing to new stores during the worst recession since the Second World War. But it appears to have had more success in recent months. Retailers are thought to have negotiated average rental contracts of 24 months rent-free on 10-year leases.
Just 50 shops – equating to little more than half of the St David's 2 floor space – will open for trading tomorrow. But Land Securities said 70 per cent of the extended centre's space was pre-let and that a further 30 retailers would begin trading before Christmas. In total, 100 stores will open today across the combined 1.4 million sq ft site.