Sunderland's Bridges boss looks forward to a bouncing 2022

Sunderland’s Bridges shopping centre is looking forward to 2022 after bouncing back from Covid.

Tuesday, 28th December 2021, 4:45 am

Since restrictions were lifted the centre has not only seen a steady increase in visitors but has also welcomed a range of new traders.

Recent months have seen the arrival of the Fashion Bible, and the return of Ann Summers to Sunderland, while new cafe Meet and Eat, book store Great Reads and phone repair shop Galaxy Mobiles opened in the summer.

Popular baker Milligans moved across the street from its previous base at the railway station, while 2021 also saw Vision Express make a significant investment in upgrading its city centre store.

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And leading training provider Uplift is also taking up residence in a unit at the Bridges, offering a range of training and coaching services.

Centre director Karen Eve took up her new role in the midst of the pandemic and has managed the Bridges through two lockdowns.

“I’m proud of the resilience we have shown in Sunderland to trade through a very difficult period,” she said.

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The Fashion Bible arrives in the Bridges. Director Lisa Fox with Karen Eve

“The city has also benefited from so many exciting new developments such as the new auditorium, the Culture House, the Holiday Inn and Mackies Corner to name but a few.

“All of this has helped instil confidence in Sunderland and what it has to offer.”

Karen also praised Sunderland BID, saying: “The BID led on the city’s Recovery Task Force which brought key partners together on a regular basis to come up with a recovery strategy and to ensure that all the important messaging was shared,” she said.

“We were one of the first cities in the country to have Covid marshals and were praised nationally for the initiative that Sunderland had shown.”

Ann Summers' new store in the Bridges (from left) Joanne Brannen (team leader), Abby Hall (assistant manager) and Emily McTeer (sales assistant)

The Bridges also worked closely with the BID and Police on Operation Kraken, an annual campaign to tackle crime and disorder.

Karen is hopeful the new year will bring further exciting announcements about the centre.

“We are pulling out all the stops to continue to strengthen the offer at the Bridges,” she said.

“We have welcomed some brilliant brands over the past few months and we hope that will have more positive news to share as we head towards 2022.”

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