Shoppers flood to Westfield Stratford for opening

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15 watch and jewellery brands take space in £1.45bn centre.

The long-awaited Westfield Stratford opened its doors to the public in east London yesterday and was faced with a flood of spectators who flocked to the centre for some celebrity appearances and opening-day discounts.

At 1.9 million sq ft, Westfield Stratford is officially Europe’s largest urban shopping and leisure centre, dwarfing its sister site Westfield London in the west of the city. The development, which is strategically placed near the Olympic site, cost £1.45 billion to build.

The centre is 95% leased in its opening week and has attracted a number of watch and jewellery brands including Goldsmiths Boutique, Claire’s Accessories, Ernest Jones, Fossil, H Samuel, Links of London, Magnolia Silver Jewellery, Accessorize, Pandora, Skagen, Swarovski, Swatch, TAG Heuer, Thomas Sabo and Toywatch.

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Opening day at Westfield Stratford was a flashy affair with celebrites Pixie Geldof and Nick Grimshaw hosting a day of events that included a performance by Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger, appearances by some Olympians and an opening ceremony led by London mayor Boris Johnson.

Individual retailers also got in on the act with fashion retailer Forever 21 inviting well-known blogger Bip Ling along to open the store while La Senza opted for pin-up Kelly Brook. At Vue cinemas, Radio One DJ Edith Bowman served popcorn to cinema-goers.

The shopping centre is said to cater for a catchment area of 4 million, as well as being ideally placed to cash in on the London tourist boom created by the 2012 Olympics.

Westfield chairman Frank Lowry said: “We are immensely proud of this world-class shopping centre which is the culmination of over 50 years’ experience and firmly cements our position in the UK market, which we entered just over 10 years ago. The project has been delivered on time, on budget and over 95% leased at opening.”

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