The Australian property company Westfield has found tenants to fill nearly two-thirds of the retail space at its £1.5bn new shopping centre at Stratford ahead of the 2012 London Olympics.
The developer, which also operates the Westfield London shopping centre in Shepherd's Bush, said large retailers including Primark, Next, H&M, River Island and the US fashion chain Forever 21 had signed up to the East London site, which is now "60 per cent leased or committed".
The 1.9 million sq ft Olympic shopping centre, which opens in 18 months' time, will have as its anchor tenants John Lewis and Waitrose, as well as Marks & Spencer and an all-digital Vue cinema. Michael Gutman, the managing director of Westfield UK and Europe, said: "I think off the back of the strength of how people are trading at Westfield London and given the dearth of new quality space that is available in the pipeline we seem to be making excellent progress."
Many shopping centres were shelved during recession. Westfield said it was monitoring potential schemes outside of London including its Bradford scheme which it put on hold in 2008. Westfield Stratford City will be served by eight Tube and overland train lines, helping to give it a catchment of 4 million people within 45 minutes.
The developer said that like-for-like sales on stores open more than one year at Westfield London were up by 16.5 per cent for the three months to 31 March 2010, which is well ahead of industry data for central London and the rest of the UK.
Mr Gutman said that footfall at the west London site jumped by 31 per cent over the May bank holiday, compared with last year. "We have reported some outstanding figures for the first quarter," Mr Gutman said.