Affluent Tunbridge Wells Demographic attracts Expanding Retailers

Posted on 17 November, 2014 by Neil Bird

Hermes Investment Management has confirmed that two new tenants are to open outlets at its popular Royal Victoria Place shopping centre in Tunbridge Wells.


In line with its ambitious expansion into the UK market, Australian stationary company Smiggle has agreed a 10-year lease on a 770 sq ft unit, while camera retailer Jessops is to take 1,200 sq ft – also on a 10-year lease.

Smiggle has plans to open 50 stores by the end of 2015, and then to open a further 50 each year until it reaches its target of 300 UK outlets. The Royal Victoria Place opening will be Smiggle’s 16th in this programme, and the company’s first in Kent.

Josh Molloy, Global Head of Property at Smiggle’s parent company The Just Group, commented: “We have ambitious plans for considerable expansion in the UK and focussed on selecting key retail destinations with core fundamentals that align with our growth strategy.

“Royal Victoria Place has demonstrated the centre is a leading Kent retail destination that has the right blend of demographic, catchment and shopper spending power to meet our criteria.”

Jessops, which was bought out of administration by Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Peter Jones in 2013, currently has 28 UK stores, and the new Tunbridge Wells outlet is one of six new openings this year.

Retail Operations Director, Scott Worger, said: “Our new store in Royal Victoria Place marks a key milestone in the next phase of our growth plans for Jessops.

“We will continue to look at opportunities to extend the reach of our business where we feel there is a good fit in terms of shopper demographic as well as the right type of unit.

“It is becoming increasingly apparent that this new generation of Jessops store provides a very unique customer experience and we’ve engaged in some very exciting discussions.”

Speaking on behalf of Hermes Investment Management, which manages assets on behalf of over 200 clients, Asset Manager Gavin Murray said: “Both Smiggle and Jessops have recognised the unique proposition Royal Victoria Place offers and the quality mix demographic around Tunbridge Wells.

“Retailers continue to be attracted by the family orientated affluent catchment present, and a higher than average spend per capita.”

Harper Dennis Hobbs advised Smiggle while Lunson Mitchenall advised Jessops. CBRE and Colliers International advised Hermes.

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