Chester shop closures - but retail business is booming

Visitors to the Grosvenor Shopping Centre increased by 31% this festive season

About half a dozen stores are empty at the Grosvenor Shopping Centre

Several shops have closed their doors for good at Chester’s prime city centre shopping mall, prompting concerns about the state of the local economy.

David M Robinson Jewellers, Moda Italia, Calendar Club and Palenque jewellers are among those that shut up shop at the Grosvenor Shopping Centre at the end of last year.

Meanwhile Debenhams department store blocked off one of its public entrances as part of a series of changes to the layout of the shop.

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Debenhams has closed this entrance in the Grosvenor Shopping Centre

But the closures are nothing to worry about, according to centre manager Julie Webb, who assured the Chronicle that Chester’s retail business is booming.

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Footfall increase

The popular Grosvenor Shopping Centre is home to some of the city’s key retailers, including Topshop, H&M and Laura Ashley.

This January the Chester Chronicle photographed more than half a dozen empty units at the centre.

The Moda Italia store closed over Christmas 2016

However, according to statistics from Savills, the shopping centre had a 31 per cent upsurge in footfall between Christmas and New Year compared to the same time in 2015.

This compares to a national decline of five per cent.

The trend continued into the new year, with visitors to the centre in the week beginning January 2 up 29 per cent despite a national drop of six per cent.

In contrast Chester’s neighbouring cities of Liverpool and Manchester have experienced a decrease in visitors year-on-year, according to Springboard UK statistics.

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Julie said: “It is absolutely fantastic to be bucking the national statistics and it is predominantly down to our excellent shopper experience, offering a service which attracts repeat visits from local shoppers as well as visitors to our city.

“With the trend continuing into the new year and exciting new store openings planned for 2017 we are looking forward to a positive trading year for the Grosvenor Shopping Centre and its stores.”

The shopping centre recently invested more than £5 million in a redevelopment that now includes a 23,214 sq foot TK Maxx.

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An extensive refurbishment programme was also implemented to enhance the exclusive St Michael’s Row, which offers shoppers an array of jewellers and boutiques.

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