Sunderland Disney shop bucks the trend

Centre manager at the Bridges, Andy Bradley outside the Disney store which will be relocating to bigger premises.
Centre manager at the Bridges, Andy Bradley outside the Disney store which will be relocating to bigger premises.
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SUNDERLAND’S Disney store is no Mickey Mouse operation.

The Bridges shop has been such a success in the last two years that it is on the move to a bigger unit within the centre.

Other stores are also trading well and work is due to start in September on the new £15million Primark store, say bosses.

The news comes as Bridges owner Land Securities announced its annual results for the year to the end of March, which saw pre-tax profits rise by nearly 15 per cent.

Jonathan Buckle, centre portfolio manager, said: “We have made significant strides to enhance the shopping environment for our 21.2million shoppers within the Bridges and will continue to do so, despite the economic conditions.

“Construction of our £15million, 60,000sq ft anchor Primark store will start on site on September 1, bringing with it in the region of 150 new jobs.

“We have also received detailed planning permission for the redevelopment of our Market Square Mall Cafés and secured an additional deal with a coffee operator to bring them into Sunderland on a 15-year lease.

“We have secured a new 10-year deal with Disney for them to relocate to a larger, more prominent store due to the overwhelming success since its launch in 2009.

“Goldsmiths, and fashion retailer Tucci are also trading well and have extended leases as a result.

“We are at the final stages of a number of additional new deals and store upsizes and expect to make further announcements shortly.”

Mr Buckle said the centre has already welcomed 4.7million shoppers this year – six per cent up on the same period last year.

He said: “This demonstrates that listening to our customers, employing a robust asset management strategy and attracting new retailers into the scheme is going to be our recipe for success in 2011.”

Francis Salway, Land Securities chief executive, said: “This was a year of continued recovery in our market and strong progress.

“Our focus on development, our disciplined approach to acquisitions and disposals and our asset management activities have all delivered significant momentum across the business.

“We may continue to see ripples in prices, but we go into the new financial year confident in our plans and well positioned to address growth opportunities. Our strong balance sheet, access to capital, excellent occupier relationships and property skills equip us to create value in this market.”