Business leaders in Birmingham welcomed an up-beat report from the company which part-owns Birmingham’s Grand Central and Bullring shopping centres. Property giant Hammerson this month acquired Grand Central shopping centre for £350 million and has reaffirmed its “strong commitment” to Birmingham. In its audited results for last year, the report  says: “The centre, which opened in September 2015, is anchored by a 23,200 square metre John Lewis and provides a modern retail environment for 40 premium stores including Jo Malone, Joules, Cath Kidston and The White Company.

“It also contains 20 casual dining brands including Yo Sushi, Caffe Concerto and Tapas Revolution. “The acquisition supports our long-term commitment to Birmingham, which is benefitting from significant inward investment. We have contracted to sell, subject to regulatory approval, 50 per cent of the scheme to CPPIB, one of the existing joint venture partners in Bullring, for £175 million.”

Grand Central  was developed by Network Rail and Birmingham City Council as part of the £750 million New Street Station regeneration project. Hammerson also developed Bullring, which opened in 2003, and it has become one of the UK’s most successful retail destinations and the prime shopping location in Birmingham. Bullring dominates the Midlands region with 36 million annual footfall.

The report adds: “Located within one of the largest retail catchments in the UK, Birmingham city centre attracts an annual retail spend of over £1 billion, making it the number one choice for many national and international brands looking to launch in the UK.” Bullring is the second largest shopping centre in Hammerson’s portfolio.

Paul Faulkner, chief executive of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) said: “Hammerson is a hugely significant partner in the creation of Birmingham as a major shopping destination and its commitment to the city is most welcome.