By Ian Dipple Friday 18 January 2013 Updated: 18/01 11:17
PLANS to improve the Kingfisher Shopping Centre will be stepped up in the light of Jessops' closure and the potential loss of HMV.
The sudden closure of camera chain Jessops last Friday (January 11) has increased the number of empty units within the centre to 21 and if a buyer cannot be found for HMV it would leave a significant gap in a key part of the mall. The music and film store was a major capture by previous owners Thornfield during the expansion and revamp of the centre about ten years ago.
Centre manager Ken Williams said while the news was disappointing the decisions had been made at a national level and reflected individual business sector conditions in the UK.
"The Kingfisher Centre has a business plan to both address the existing vacant spaces and to manage any new space that becomes available, whether by normal expiry of leases, by individual business decisions to consolidate or through general high street trading evolution," he said.
"Capital and Regional, co-investors in the Kingfisher Centre, have a great relationship with a wide selection of retail businesses across their shopping centre portfolio which will be exploited in the execution of the Kingfisher business plan. Redditch is not alone in its desire to improve the fortunes of its town centre and these latest announcements will only motivate us to work harder to accelerate our plans as part of our contribution to Redditch Town Centre."
But Matthew Hopkinson, director at the Local Data Company, suggested more closures would follow hitting shopping centres and high streets further.
"The big question is how many more retailers are struggling out there to the point of administration? Those who are not will no doubt be looking to reduce their store numbers significantly as consumer trends continue to reduce the need for large store portfolios."
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