Wed, Jul 04, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Competitive retailing

A massive east London shopping center is betting that it can turn fans of the Olympic Games into mall rats

AP, LONDON

“It’s brilliant,” said local carpenter Barry Heath as he shopped with his wife Sharon. “To find any of these shops, we used to have to go into central London, Oxford Street, King’s Road, Chelsea, all those places. It used to take me an hour, now it takes me five minutes.”

He said the mall — and the whole Summer Olympics — have helped transform east London, which had long suffered from neglect.

That darker underbelly was evident Friday, when police said a 24-year-old man died from stab wounds after a fight on the ground floor of Westfield.

Police have charged nine men with violent disorder in the death of Liam Woodards.

The Olympics run from July 27 to August 12, but Westfield will be there for decades.

“All our friends love it,” said Heath, 41. “It’s good for everybody.”

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