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Drake takes flight with new signings

Published:  16 March, 2006

Drake Circus, the P&O scheme under development in Plymouth city centre, has attracted a raft of new retailers easing it to the 80 per cent-let mark seven months ahead of opening. River Island, Schuh, Fraser Hart, O2, Bershka and Carphone Warehouse have all recently signed on the dotted line, with River Island taking a 13,500 sq ft store on a 15-year lease. The Bershka shop will the Inditex-owned retailer's third store in the UK; it is also trading in the MetroCentre and on Oxford Street.

The 560,000 sq ft, £200m Drake Circus development is anchored by Next, Marks & Spencer and Primark and is scheduled to open in October. Graham Corser, senior development surveyor at P&O, said: "Having let the large store units last year, and with the opening of the centre this autumn, we are on programme for retailers to start fitting out their stores this spring."

Stuart White of Lunson Mitchenall, joint letting agent with Hartnell Taylor Cook, said: "Drake Circus is one of the most significant shopping centre openings of 2006. The progress of lettings and the quality of retailers that are committing to the scheme is a fantastic reflection on Drake Circus and is very positive for retail in the South West in general."

Despite depressed retail trade generally, the South West has been in the top half of FootFall's regional index since the beginning of the year (see p20) and was the strongest performer nationally in February.