Two new shops will create 20 jobs

Deichmann Shoes' new shop in Priory Meadow SUS-150902-165141001
Deichmann Shoes' new shop in Priory Meadow SUS-150902-165141001

Around 20 new jobs will be created at Priory Meadow after the shopping centre enjoying a successful Christmas trading period.

Following a buoyant festive spell for retailers in Priory Meadow, two new shops have signed up for space in the shopping centre, creating around 20 new job opportunities between them.

Schuh and Deichmann Shoes will begin trading in early March, joining H&M and Kidstuff Toys, which opened last year, and Pandora and tReds, which opened in 2013. It is hoped this will be followed in the near future by the opening of a quality coffee and muffins café in the upper Mall.

Cllr Jeremy Birch, leader of Hastings Borough Council, said, “It’s great news that Hastings is doing so well as a retail centre. New quality businesses moving into Priory Meadow is very welcome - it will increase employment and increase the attractiveness of the town both for visitors and local residents as a place to spend money.”

The success of Priory Meadow since it was taken over by NewRiver Retail last August was evident in the shopping centre’s popularity over the Christmas and the New Year period.

Boosted by the return of the ever-popular ice rink and Christmas market, retailers enjoyed buoyant sales, with over three quarters of shops reporting sales in excess of last year.

Visitor numbers were up quite markedly by 11 per cent compared to December 2013, at a weekly average count of 153,000 coming into the Centre, while more than 12,500 skaters took to the ice - an increase of 2,200.

The figures represent the most successful year yet for this feature, which has run since 2009. Analysis of ice-skating ticket data reveals that 25 per cent of these visitors came from beyond the Centre’s normal catchment area of TN30-40 post codes - a fact noted by a number of retailers where transaction information confirmed this.

John Hough, Centre manager, said, “Our message throughout the festive period was ‘Hastings – where Christmas really happens’ and I believe we achieved this once more in 2014.

“We pride ourselves both in providing support to our retailers during this important trading period, and offering much more than other shopping centres in the area, with fun, value for money activities like the ice rink and our Christmas grotto, in which 2,372 children visited Santa.

“It’s great news that this success is to be followed by more new shops in 2015.”

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