Huw commented, “It was a tremendous success and a very uplifting day for Newport. We are convinced Friars Walk will draw in more shoppers to the city centre in general so that the whole retail quarter can benefit. With our partners we have been successful in attracting M&S, Mothercare and River Island back into the city centre, as well as new retailers such as Jack Jones, schuh, Tiger and Skechers.
“Our role, alongside the joint agents, is to continue to identify suitable retailers for unit shops to complement the centre’s anchor stores – Debenhams, Next, H&M and TopShop – which had been agreed early in the process. Our targeting of retailers has to be as aspirational as possible to secure the best retailer mix to suit Newport’s population, while complementing 12 family restaurants and Cineworld, which are also key occupiers for Friars Walk.”
Andrew West said that the route that shoppers would now take into the city had changed. “The previously established pedestrian flow will change as the focus for shoppers moves to Friars Walk. I would anticipate the former established prime retail pitch on Commercial Street remaining strong but a relative decline in footfall and value outside this concentrated core. Interestingly we have already seen Greggs move from the far end of Commercial Street to the entrance to Friars Walk, and Poundland has moved up to a more prime position on Commercial Street near to the old Marks & Spencer store.”
Newport’s retail offer had deteriorated over the previous decade, with a number of national brands relocating to Newport Retail Park or leaving the city altogether. With Friars Walk now attracting high calibre retailers back to the city centre, it is estimated that retail sales will double and estimated footfall will increase to 10-12m per annum (Javelin/DTZ).