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Shopping center in Birmingham opening is postponed

The opening of a refurbished shopping centre above Birmingham New Street station has been delayed until 2015. The Grand Central Birmingham shopping complex, formerly the Pallasades, had been due to open next autumn as part of a £600m revamp of the station.

Network Rail said that since a part of the new station concourse had been built it now had a clearer picture about how long the whole project would take.

It said more than 80% of shop units had already been allocated. The new centre will boast 40 stores and 20 restaurants including the largest John Lewis store outside London, and will create up to 1,000 jobs, Network Rail said.

It said luxury goods retailer The White Company and beauty and body care shops L'Occitane and Kiehls were the other shops confirmed so far. Deals have also been agreed with nine restaurants including Vietnamese-style eatery, Pho, which is opening its first branch outside London and the South East, it said.

John Lewis managing director Andy Street said he "understood and supported" the decision to delay the opening. "It is disappointing that potential shoppers will have to wait a little longer, but we are determined to work with colleagues on ensuring this is the best opening possible," said Mr Street, who is also chairman of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership.

Network Rail said the decision to open in 2015 had been reached along with Birmingham City Council. Project director Chris Montgomery said he believed the redevelopment would bring many visitors to the city "for the first time in many years".

"Having reviewed how the centre and the station will work alongside each other, we're confident that a more aligned opening in 2015 will allow customers to experience the full impact of the stunning open atrium design from day one," he said.