Multi Development, the Dutch developer, and Aviva Investors have signed Sainsbury’s at its SouthGate scheme in Bath.

Sainsbury’s joins retailers including Debenhams, New Look, Boots and H&M at the scheme.

Stuart Harris, leasing director at Multi Development in the UK said: ‘We are delighted to announce the opening of phase one on time. Momentum is really gathering on lettings as retailers even in this tough economic climate recognize that Bath is still a very strong trading location.

'There are relatively few vacancies in the city and there is a lot of demand from retailers for the new quality of space we are offering.’

Mark Rush, Sainsbury’s regional acquisitions manager, said: ‘We are delighted to be part of the initial opening phase of the Southgate development.

'We believe we are ideally located for both shoppers in the new centre and also for those using the new bus station and train station.

'Our existing Sainsbury’s store in Monmouth Street trades well and we believe the new Southgate Local store will be a positive addition to the town centre.’

SouthGate is a 417,000 sq ft scheme in central Bath including retail, residential and leisure areas, anchored by 125,000 sq ft Debenhams department store and built in a classic Georgian-style. It is a joint venture between Multi Development and Aviva Investors

It is 45% let, with an additional 20% agreed and will be open in three phases: phase one this year, phase two in May 2010, phase three in September 2010. It will include 99 apartments and 860 new underground parking spaces.

The scheme is a 50:50 joint venture between Aviva Investors and Multi.