LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Better than expected growth in Britain's economy greeted the opening of a new retail complex at the heart of London's financial district on Thursday.
One New Change, a 60-store mall developed by British property firm Land Securities Group Plc, next door to St. Paul's Cathedral, will provide workers in the square mile financial district known as the "City" with the kind of modern shopping mall that had until now been relegated to neighborhoods further afield.
The opening of the three-storey mall occurs during a week in which the British economy has seen hopeful signs of growth and just in time for the Christmas shopping season.
"From the 12th to the 17th centuries, the City was the hub of London's retail activity -- with One New Change we are reconnecting the area with its roots," David Atcherley Symes, Retail Manager for Land Securities' London Portfolio which is the owner and developer of the site, said in a statement.
British retail sales grew robustly in October, an industry survey showed on Thursday, and the country's economy grew twice as fast as expected in the third quarter.
One New Change is the largest consolidated retail space in the City and will include Topshop, H&M, Kurt Geiger, All Saints and Banana Republic, which join a fashion line-up including retailers Reiss, Hugo Boss, Hobbs and Karen Millen, the mall said in the statement.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) reported that its October retail sales balance -- a proxy for sales growth -- eased from a six-year high in September, but still hit its second highest reading this year in line with forecasts.
It also said that the short-term outlook remained positive according to 66 retail chains which responded to a CBI survey between September 28 and October 13.
The Office for National Statistics said on Tuesday that Britain's economy grew 0.8 percent between July and September, down from a nine-year high of 1.2 percent in the second quarter but twice the 0.4 percent most economist had expected.
Restaurants in the new development include Barbecoa, a new concept restaurant from Jamie Oliver.
Reporting by Paul Casciato, editing by Patricia Reaney