Next is to open a 50,000 sq ft store at the former John Lewis at the Parkway Centre, Newbury.

The retailer has exchanged contracts with Aberdeen Standard Investment’s Pooled Pension Fund and expects to open in Summer. Next had long had a store in Northbrook Street but had moved to Newbury Retail Park. That store has now closed but Next has run a temporary Click & Collect outlet in the Parkway during lockdown.

The new store will carry the full ranges of clothing and homeware and will have a Mamas & Papas concession within it.  There are also plans to incorporate a café.

Angus Stenhouse, senior asset manager at Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI), said: “This vote of confidence by Next strengthens Newbury’s reputation as a strong retail destination within its catchment and the M4 corridor.

“Having recently closed the retail park store, choosing Parkway shows Next’s belief in the future of the high street.”

The move represents a change in fortunes for the Parkway which lost both Debenhams and John Lewis last year.

Neil Hockin, director for Lunson Mitchenall which acted for ASI, said: “This deal shows great commitment from both ASI and Next to Parkway and  Newbury town centre. Next, moving from an out of town park to the heart of the town centre’s retail offer, will no doubt be the catalyst for further investment,

“If you look at the wider context of this, a planning application has been submitted for the Eagle Quarter which will provide more town centre living at a range of price points so you will have people living, shopping, working and socialising in the centre of Newbury which will add to the town’s vitality.

“Next are the strongest UK-based high street retailer. To have their commitment to Parkway is very exciting.”

He said new uses for units in the Parkway may now include leisure, convenience uses from both national and local retailers and possible offices to complement the current mix.

Next was represented by Savills. Stephen Proudley, retail director for the property consultant, said: “We’re delighted to have advised Next on this acquisition, which will it see it open a standout new store in a prime, town centre location.

“This transaction demonstrates that there is still appetite for retailers to acquire new  town centre sites when the right opportunities come along.

“The ability to create  an unrivalled  in store experience combined with the amenities to provide a click and collect service and working with a proactive landlord was key here.

“The confidence from Next in its ability to provide an exemplary retail experience will be a huge boost to the surrounding area and  assist in the repositioning of the Parkway scheme, and we look forward to continuing our work with them, supporting them  in the delivery of their  property strategy.”

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