An understandably quieter BCSC conference than usual finishes today in Manchester. The annual retail property event attracted 2,100 delegates compared to 2,800 last year.
That's still a fair whack of people wanting to do business. The retailers present were dominated by the value guys with Store Twenty One, Poundland, Subway, Iceland, KFC all on the look-out for new stores to open in the next year or two, in some cases dozens of them.
The exhibition area was markedly sparse and subdued, but the consensus was 'there are better signs in the market than last year'. Whether that is due to the more certain knowledge that we are in recession compared to an abstract fear of pending recession last year, begs further examination.
Couple of bits of gossip gleaned from the grand tour of stands, glass of white in hand and reporter's notebook stowed out of site for safety: widespread feeling that Grosvenor's exit from Preston Tithebarn means the end of the scheme despite JV partner Lend Lease's insistence it will stay the course; Land Securities is not formally committed to ING's Northgate scheme in Chester and is still just looking but won't say how long that review will take.
Another mention is due to Land Securities for most aggressive drinks-related-marketing: their Tuesday evening reception started at 11pm in Panacea. Nice work.