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Drapers: "Brent Cross, the UK’s original regional shopping centre, turns 40"

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"Forty years ago Brent Cross shopping centre first opened its doors. The development not only changed shopping for the residents of north London, it spurred a new brand of regional shopping mall that took the UK by storm.

The 898,000 sq ft centre opened with established names such as John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Fenwick – all of which still have stores at Brent Cross – along with brands that have fallen by the wayside including Radio Rentals, C&A and fashion brands Lady M and Lord John.

"Stephen Springham, head of retail research at property agent Knight Frank says it broke new ground. 'It was the UK’s first truly modern covered shopping mall. It may be hard to believe now, but back in 1976, the mainstay of the UK retail scene was still traditional high street shops,' he says.

"... 'Brent Cross brought the world's best brands to north London and gave people a place to shop that was undercover, where they didn't have to battle the elements or dodge cars,' Brent Cross general manager Tom Nathan says. He adds that Brent Cross' accessibility was critical to its success. It is served by the North Circular, A1 and M1, a tube station and is home to the third busiest bus station in London.

"Jenny O'Donoghue, regional director of department store Fenwick, says free parking was also a unique selling point for consumers and continues to be the case today."

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