The first phase of Liverpool’s £1bn retail revamp opened yesterday to a sunny, carnival atmosphere. But no amount of bunting could hide the scattering of empty shops in the city centre scheme.

The first day’s trading for retailers such as John Lewis and Debenhams amounted to only a partial launch of the 1.4m sq ft development but the remaining vacancies should not cast too large a shadow – Liverpool One is 80% full with four months to go before the main opening.

However Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster’s property company, has had to improve its terms to attract retailers and the remaining empty stores are emblematic of a broader problem in the sector: the largest amount of development for more than 40 years has coincided with slowing retail demand.

Financial Times