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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

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Cumbrian shopping centre almost full for the first time

Workington's £35 million shopping centre is nearly fully occupied for the first time since it opened seven years ago.

Workington town centre photo
Workington town centre

The centre has seen shops open and close over the years during the recession and has constantly had empty shop units.

But following this week’s news that three more businesses are to move into the town, the centre is at the peak of its success.

Ladies fashion store Select, Jane Street Barbers and Mobile Booth have all agreed to fill an empty unit and negotiations are taking place with another company about the possibility of moving into the former JJB shop which closed last month.

And at the end of this month 14 jobs will be created when clothing giant H&M moves into four units.

Only two large and two smaller shops now remain empty – which is a massive boost for the shopping centre, especially during the economic downfall, said the man responsible of filling them.

Dave Fletcher, development manager for the centre, said he was “extremely pleased” with the recent success.

“It’s great news – especially when the rest of the country is struggling. We are doing extremely well,” he said.

But he has warned that the centre is not being complacent, as “things can change in an instant”.

Ten full and part-time jobs will be created when Select, which traded in the town several years ago, moves back. The shop plans to open next weekend.

Jessica Morris and Danyell Chisholm will open Jane Street Barbers on December 1, providing traditional hot open razor shaves as well as hairstyling for men.

And Mobile Booth has already opened the business, which provides phone accessories and a repair and unlocking service.

Martin O’Rourke, director of Riddelltps Limited, managing agents for the owners of Washington Square, said that it was the combination of High Street giants, smaller national names and homegrown businesses that helps make Workington a great shopping destination.

“Workington offers a big city shopping experience in a local town and is the retail hub of west Cumbria,” he said.

“A number of our retailers don’t have stores anywhere else in west Cumbria and recent new tenants add to our range of exclusive shopping opportunities.

“The centre is now almost fully occupied for the first time. This is testament to the growing strength and success of Workington as the main retail destination in west Cumbria, which attracts an average of over 100,000 customers a week.”

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