Refurbishments, new tenants and increased footfall have helped drive an upsurge in business at Reading’s Broad Street Mall – as it enters its most exciting phase in 45 years, withmore changes to come.
Asset managers Moorgarth Group reported a 3.1 per cent increase in last year’s footfall figures compared to 2014 while across the industry numbers dropped two per cent. Retailers reported steady trade backed up by a strong Christmas period which saw a 10.5 per cent increase in footfall along with strong sales. One anchor tenant reported a 13 per cent increase in sales in December over the previous year.
The mall vacancy rate in January 2015 was 12.9 per cent but dropped to 5.2 per cent by December with 11 new retailers opening.
The new confidence has prompted a host of refurbishments. Five have been carried out so far with five more due including one of the major anchors. The mall itself is also in a period of internal refurbishment and exterior cleaning as well as rebranding, which it is believed, will continue the upward trend.
The owners say they are considering retail and leisure operators to complement the existing offer and to improve the attraction of the centre as a whole. Shops and restaurants, some having been empty for 10 years, are beginning to let in Queens Walk boosted by confidence in the new investment.
The mall’s Fountain House office development is also in line for a substantial improvement and will offer space at a much lower price point than many of its competitors. Moorgarth has announced a £2 million refurbishment which is due to begin imminently.