Sunderland shopping centre bucking high street recession

Andy Bradley, manager of the Bridges Centre, Sunderland, has been judged the best large shopping centre manager in the country.
Andy Bradley, manager of the Bridges Centre, Sunderland, has been judged the best large shopping centre manager in the country.
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SUNDERLAND’S Bridges shopping centre is beating the high street blues.

New figures reveal the centre is going from strength to strength as it prepares to welcome new retailers.

Speaking as owner Land Securities released its report on the first quarter of the month, Bridges Portfolio director Gerald Jennings said: “The centre has continued to see steady momentum in terms of retailers increasing space, new retailers joining the scheme, the progression of our £15million Primark expansion and active community involvement.

“Our priority is always to create the best shopping environment for the customer and to encourage more shoppers from outside our core catchment area into the centre.

“This year we’ve already seen Topshop and Topman upsize to an impressive 8,400 sq ft due to growing customer demand for more fashion lines.

“In addition, we were really pleased to welcome leading fashion brand Superdry to the Bridges when they opened a 4,600 sq ft store.

“The construction of our new 60,000sq ft Primark store is also well under way.

“I’m sure shoppers can already see how this development will transform the mall and high street to create an outstanding shopping environment.

“We’ve also been working hard to improve our catering offer within the centre and Caffe Nero has been a huge success since its opening for Christmas. We’re in talks with a number of other eateries and hope to confirm an exciting new deal shortly.”

The centre is also supporting good causes locally. Corporate social responsibility is also big on the agenda for Land Securities.

“Last October, we launched the Arise (Alliance to Reward Initiative and Social Enterprise) initiative,” said Mr Jennings.

“To date, 13 applications have been received, 10 of which have received funding and we have awarded more than £4,000 in grants.

“We’re also in discussions with the Create Foundation, the ground-breaking social enterprise company, about how we can work with them within the Bridges and we hope to be able to strengthen the partnership we have already established.

“In addition, our centre director Andy Bradley has recently been awarded with the prestigious Centre Manager of the Year at the Sceptre Awards 2012.

“The awards is one of the most respected within the shopping centre industry.”

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