THE Metrocentre shopping centre has added 18 new retailers since September and has a number of stores moving in just for the festive period.
The boost comes despite a mixed national picture on footfall in the key festive shopping period, according to figures just issued by the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
The new openings at the Metrocentre include the 15,000sq ft MetrOasis catering centre, which has brought names including Krispy Kreme to the region for the first time.
The new additions also include high-end babies store Mamas and Papas, BANK Fashion, H&M and designer menswear store Tessuti.
Metrocentre general manager Gavin Prior said: “We are delighted with the number of new restaurants, retailers and brands that have chosen Metro- centre, all adding to our very strong retail mix.
“Their continued investment keeps Metrocentre at the forefront of retailing. Together with the adjacent Metro Retail Park this is more than just a shopping centre, it’s a complete retail, catering and leisure destination.”
The Gateshead shopping mall is also developing a Platinum Mall of aspirational brands. The first to move in was 360 Champagne and Cocktails in August.
Craig Ince, managing director of 360, said: “Since opening day, trade at the bar has been brisk and sales are well above forecast. Notably the volume of premium champagne sales has far outstripped sales of sparkling wines.
“We are surprised and absolutely delighted with the performance of 360 at Metrocentre. Following the unparalleled success of our first Metrocentre bar, we are keen to develop a second bar concept within the centre in the new year.”
The positive news from the Metrocentre comes as latest BRC-Springboard Retail Footfall Monitor gave a mixed picture on shopper numbers across the UK.
It said footfall was down year on year in the week starting December 3 by 1.7% across the board, with shopping centres suffering from the biggest drop of 4.9%, followed by high streets and out-of-town locations which fell 0.8% and 0.4% respectively.
However, week on week, footfall jumped by 2.3%. It increased by the most on a weekly basis at shopping centres, rising by 3.6% on the previous week, followed by high streets (2.2%) and out-of-town locations (0.9%).
BRC director-general Stephen Robertson said: “Several factors are in play; people who haven’t got spare money aren’t shopping.
“And cold weather, perhaps coupled with the media buzz around ‘Mega Monday’, may have motivated many to stay indoors and do shopping online rather than venturing out in freezing conditions. The good news is footfall edged up by 2.3% last week compared with the previous week.
“Though the increase is a baby step rather than a big leap, it at least demonstrates that momentum is building slowly but surely as we get into the final fortnight before Christmas.”