Trafford Center is the UK’s iconic retail destination with over 150 brands, exquisite food and drink offerings and lots of exciting leisure activities all under one roof. In this month’s cover story, RLI sat down with Rhys Evans, Managing Director of Asset Management at Side Meadow and Russell Loveland, UK Director of Asset Management at Side Meadow to find out more about the UK’s leading hub. Kingdom and what are its next steps.
Opened in 1998, Trafford Center has become the shopping destination in the north of England thanks to its fantastic mix of high street favorites alongside affordable luxury brands. The center continues to have a unique appeal, as its spectacular design, both inside and out, has made it one of the most Instagrammable shopping centers in Europe.
“Trafford Center is a unique and very important asset in the UK and holds an important place in the hearts and minds of our clients and partners. The prospect of working at Trafford Center was truly exciting and an opportunity we couldn’t pass up,” explains Rhys Evans, Managing Director of Asset Management at Lateral Prairie. “Having spent the first management period stabilizing the asset and bringing exciting new brand partners to the hub, we are looking forward to taking the asset to the next stage by bringing even more variety and exciting content to the scheme. ” explains Russell Loveland, UK Director of Asset Management at Side Meadow.
The site features two iconic focal points, The Great Hall and The Orient, and these house some of the center’s most impressive design features, including one of the world’s largest chandelier. The two areas are also home to the scheme’s main F&B offering, which is now fully leased with the recent arrival of The Real Greek, Franco Manca and Wingstop.
Evans explains that the design of these areas has always been a real crowd pleaser, presenting a sky of constellations and recognizable global landmarks for different international cuisines. Side Meadow wishes to retain the general design of The Great Hall and The Orient, while introducing new ideas. An example of this is the fact that the pool was removed to make way for a covered event area, to allow for pop-ups and activations for visitors to enjoy throughout the year.
“We have also expanded the outdoor event space immediately outside The Great Hall to host large-scale seasonal events that have already proven immensely popular, including our Summer Daze summer festival, Halloween Spookfest and the upcoming Tinseltown holiday activation.” says Evans.
Recent difficult times have meant some unexpected spaces have become available on the site and JD Group has taken part of the former TopShop unit to make it the world’s largest JD Sports store and its global flagship, which has been an exciting development. for the center.
Side Meadow’s ambition is to create a truly unique retail mix with store offerings not available elsewhere in the north of England. The vision is for the project to be a home for flagship stores, concept stores and a launch pad for new brands.
Securing a dynamic retail mix has been a top priority for Lateral Prairie, and since his appointment, more than 90 separate deals have been completed, representing approximately 600,000 square feet of space.
Dyson’s recent launch has been a huge success and the Trafford Center is only their second demo store in the UK. H&M also chose Trafford Center for its new ‘first of its kind’ store concept, featuring an open frontage with the introduction of a massive H&M Home, which has been hugely popular with shoppers.
Meanwhile, the new NEXT store, currently in the fit-out stage, will significantly increase the brand’s presence downtown and bring together its fashion, beauty and home offerings in a single 65,000-square-foot store. In addition, the new Gap store has arrived as part of the brand’s joint venture with NEXT. Another deal has also seen the opening of the newly upgraded Boss store in the affordable luxury area along with the arrival of its younger brand Hugo.
“It’s not just about making sure we get the best from strong, established brands, we also like to add something different to the mix. A great example is the newly opened Origin Kicks flagship store, curating an authentic collection of sneakers and streetwear to offer a resale offering of iconic sneakers. As well as being a local brand, it’s a great example of our intent to find and offer really interesting retail concepts downtown,” Loveland explains.
In addition to a wide and diverse retail offer, Trafford Center incorporates a 20 screen Odeon cinema including IMAX, Namco Funscape with bowling, arcade games, dodgems and pool tables.
“Trafford Center is a totally unique destination thanks to its spectacular design and architecture. It is home to so many diverse brands, including our anchor Selfridges, which is a major draw for visitors from across the North of England. It is this, combined with its indoor entertainment offering, that gives site visitors so many options to ensure a truly extraordinary experience,” comments Loveland.
As time with the two members of Side Meadow comes to a close, Evans explains that people are the main engine behind the success of the Trafford Centre. The team is made up of people who have been involved and dedicated to the scheme since its inception, as well as newer members who bring fresh perspectives and ideas who have worked running large retail schemes in the UK and in different parts of the world. They all share a passion to make this truly unique destination the best in the UK and a top destination on the European map.
“Our focus will continue to be on delivering new and exciting offerings to our guests, many of which will come online in 2023 with many more exciting retail and leisure additions to follow in 2024 and beyond. We strive to create a world-class offering and a hub of a nationally significant brand experience,” concludes Loveland.