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National fashion chain pulls out of town centre scheme

High street fashion retailer New Look has pulled out of Penrith’s New Squares development.

New Look photo
New Look

A spokesman for the company said they had pulled out “due to logistical challenges”.

It was one of the best known names associated with the development, which has only attracted a handful of retailers.

Fashion retailer M&Co has reserved a unit and H&M is also understood to be taking one. So far, just the Thorntons/Hallmark store and Eden Coffee Lounge have already opened.

A spokesman for the New Squares development said New Look was one of a number of retailers they had been in talks with but there was never any agreement for them to move in.

“We’ve had a lot of interest from retailers wanting to become part of the development,” he said. “We will be able to announce more openings in the coming months. This will create a vibrant shopping offer for the area and become a positive addition to Penrith.”

He said Sainsbury’s store had made it easier for people to do their shopping in the town.

A spokesman for New Look said: “We regret to confirm that New Look are no longer seeking to open a store in the New Squares development. This is due to logistical challenges and restrictions related to the area.”

Eden Council leader Gordon Nicholson said the New Squares development offered “more than just shops”.

“It provides a significant amount of new housing for the area, including affordable housing and social housing,” he said. “It is a commercial development and subject to market forces.”

Eden Coffee Lounge is owned by Elaine Hogg and her partner Tom Graham Hill and Mr Hill is optimistic about the prospects for New Squares.

He said: “We have been run off our feet, the potential is clearly here for the area and it’s really exciting. Hopefully our business being here will encourage other businesses to come in. It has quite a continental feel, so it would be good to see some little bits of live entertainment.”

New Squares has been beset with problems.

When the scheme was put out to tender in 2000, the supermarket Booths and Maple Grove were chosen as preferred developers.

That decision was challenged, the contract was retendered in 2003 and awarded to Tesco and Lowther Manelli.

The latter then teamed up with Sainsbury’s in 2005.

The project hit problems post-credit crunch in 2008 when the National Australia Bank withdrew funding. Work restarted in March 2011 when Sainsbury’s agreed to complete the scheme.

The supermarket opened in November 2011 and New Squares was completed earlier this year but filling the retail units remains problematic.

Have your say

@Beautiful Development - so you think people should visit a load of empty shops. I can think of better days out.

Posted by Me on 24 August 2013 at 10:34

Penrith is such a beautiful market town gorgeous unique family run shops lots of one off things to buy, especially for the home or as gifts. The New Square is simply stunning and worth a visit just to see, Eden Coffee Lounge is definitely worth a visit too.

Posted by Beautiful Development on 24 August 2013 at 09:38

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