Priory Meadow is now one of the most successful shopping centres in the country and has a waiting list of businesses that want to locate there.
Figures just out show the centre is bucking the national trend with footfall and sales both growing at a time when many other town centre shopping centres are in decline and struggling to survive.
Hastings Borough Council (HBC) owns Priory Meadow but has an agreement in place with a property management company called New River Group that manages the centre and deals with leases and lettings.
In the the last quarter, footfall was up by almost one per cent over the same quarter in the previous year, against an average drop of ten per cent in other major towns across the rest of the south east.
Increased footfall has been largely attributed to the opening of the Primark store and as that happened in the latter part of the quarter centre managers expect to see even greater increases in the next quarter.
The increased footfall is also translating into increased sales, the opening of Primark has brought a boost for other shops in the centre with almost all reporting increased sales – some even reporting sales figures up by more than ten per cent.
HBC leader Peter Chowney says: “That applies particularly to other clothing retailers who are getting the most benefit. That might not be expected, but it seems people are attracted by Primark, but then go to other clothes shops too.”
Mr Chowney also points out that all the units in Priory Meadow are currently let, even if they are empty, someone is about to move in and he says there is a waiting list for units there, “…not surprising, as it’s now one of the most successful shopping centres in the country,” he says.
Elsewhere in Hastings town centre he points to Queen’s Road which he says is undergoing ‘something of a renaissance’.
“Debenhams too has escaped closure, although its long-term future remains uncertain as it does with all Debenhams stores,” he says.
HBC has also submitted a £3m grant application to the Future High Streets Fund, a government fund to help ‘failing’ high streets, Mr Chowney says: “Even though it’s difficult to argue that Hastings town centre is ‘failing’, there are still many problems which we could address, so we’re hoping the bid will be successful.”
- Read more about the success of Hastings town centre by following this link
Main image courtesy of Love Hastings www.lovehastings.com