Thought I'd start a new thread to deal with non SD2 retail news. It seems to me that considering the current climate the amount of activity and level of lettings in the city centre is quite high. Probably a ripple effect from SD2 but welcome all the same.
As an opener the Pound Saver shop on St Johns St has now closed and is now Food 2 Go. It's been turned around in a couple of days. The Shop frontage is better although the sign looks quite cheap. We could see chairs and tables outside which along with Cafe Nero, Burger King and the Owain may lead to the street looking less 'windswept.' All the units on that street are now let.
The Echo reports strong interest from at least 4 well known retailer ie. high street in the Borders unit (which closed yesterday).
Good news - i hope it is let quickly, hopefully to a retailer that will drive significant footfall to that part of town.
It would be shame if it were left empty for too long, I was on the Hayes last night and there was a great buzz to the place.
Just a couple of observations from my trip down Cardiff for the Sales this morning.
The old USC has now closed - its going to be fit out as a JD Sport fairly soon. The old JD isn't "To Let", so perhaps Size will take over downstairs too.
The new USC has a "To let" sign on it too so don't know if they are pulling out of the city entirely. Looking at the store it certainly seems to have gone way downhill in terms of brand mix. Its also more "cluttered".
Monsoon is relocating (to SD2), as is Envy (to pastures unknown).
No sign of any permanent new lettings in the Capitol - the cheap "Fashion House" always looks pretty empty when I go past. I do find it funny as they seem to sell exactly the same kind of stuff as New Look or River Island and at cheaper prices and the latter are wayyyy busier. The national multiples really do pull the punters in.
The shops on the Hayes looking a bit busier today - partic Kurt Geiger and Radley. LK Bennett looks dead as always. That little section by John Lewis looks less like prime space opposite a department store and more like secondary space opposite a dead frontage.
The arcades seemed to be doing okay too.
I'll get a new update from SD2 sometime in early January which will hopefully show more lettings progress.
I think the To Let sign above USC refers to an upstairs unit in the same building.
Spoke to my friend who has just left USC, they are closing that store and moving into a new unit in SD2 apparantly.
Article on WalesOnline:
Only "News" is from Queens Arcade who, apparently, are about to announce 4 new retailers in the coming weeks. I think one will be MadHouse, who are to make a return. Officers Club may be another. Although both were advertised on the St Davids Jobs website, I've found out that they were helping more generally with recruitment for retail in the city centre - even in the Capitol Center.
Mad House has been open in the Queens Arcade for sometime now, it looks awful though - like Sports World but without sports clothes.
I never understand why some cheap stores merchandise so poorly. It seems to me that the costs of improving it would be quite small - a couple of extra staff to keep it tidy and some different signs and p.o.s materials. I get put off the really horrible cluttered stores where half the clothes are on the floor - and I'm sure I'm not alone.
The unit Madhouse is in appears to be still "to let", so perhaps they are only there temporarily?
Could 2010 be a tricky year for Queen St? Once unrivalled as Wales' premier retail destination there could be a raft of unlet premises.
It seems that USC will be moving to SD2, Envy are reloacting to a destination as yet unknown, Monsoon are going and possibly Gap as well? All at the western end. At the eastern end Capitol centre continues to struggle. In the middle section the presence of the big boys such as Next, M&S, Top Shop, River Island, HMV etc will ensure that Queen St is busy although Peacocks will surely be looking to bail out shortly?
I think long term Queen st will be successful and compliment the Hayes very well. In the short term the large units and high rents will struggle to attract tenants especially if SD2 is continuing to prove popular and is offering generous terms.
I'm not concerned for Queen Street actually. Demand is still very strong for good quality units on Queen Street - the larger USC unit has just been relet to JD Sports for the princely sum of £650,000 per annum. Peacocks will only get out of its store if it can discharge its lease to someone else (it has about 8 years remaining on its lease - it hadn't planned to go back to St Davids!), and its probably the same for Monsoon.
Apparently companies are lining up to take on the old borders unit once it is out of administrators hands. The agents say they are “respected, good-quality brands”.
The Entertainer has bailed out of the old Pier unit in Queens Arcade as expected.
A new chocolate retailer has opened on the corner unit of Royal Arcade and St Mary St. It looks temporary and judging by the complete absence of customers will be gone in weeks.
Oh I know - I saw it at Christmas. I thought about going in there and buying something as I felt sorry for them. But it was freezing and I was in a hurry. The problem is the store looks very very spartan. There simply isn't enough to tempt you in - they need additional products like high quality sweets, biscuits, fudges, could they do hot chocolate and chocco milkshakes? When I went past it was just a counter with some chocolates in.
Another Poundland for Queen St?? According to this -
Or is the Echo reporting 6 months old news?
That looks like a mistake, the article then goes on to enthrall us with details of a table top sale in St faith's church Llanishen.
I saw that. I can't see where else they could take a store. The current Monsoon, perhaps or if Peacocks moves out of Queen Stree. And god forbit, not the old Zavvi unit? :-S
Drucker's, the cafe/patisserie in the centre appears to have gone into administration and is now closed.
Also, I wonder if the re-branding of B&B and eventually A&L by Santander will leave a couple more empty units at the castle end of Queen Street?
The joke shop in Castle Arcade has shut. There are quite a few empty units down there now. A pity because it's my favourite arcade but as the focus of the city centre shifts that part of town seems to be out on a bit of a retail limb.
When I was back in town, Barker seemed to be doing a good trade. I think the place has a couple of strong fashion stores with fairly loyal followings but apart from that it doesn't seem to attract many people.
How is the Morgan and Royal arcade looking post Xmas? How many of the new stores before Xmas seem to have been temporary?
I think the joke shop has consolidated into its operations in another arcade hasn't it? Still, it does count as a shop becoming vacant..
I think St Mary street pedestrianisation should/could help the arcades a bit. Currently its a bit of a hassle to cross the street to get to the castle arcade, but this should improve.
That madame fromage shop is an absolute delight. It seemed busy the other day.
I wonder if the council could take a unit or two in there for some kind of service that attracts punters? (probably not!)
Are people collecting their dole money or complaining about nuisance neighbours the kind of people who would shop in the arcades in any case?
Something like a hairdressers or a dentists would draw people into the arcade.
Fair Point Cambo..
I dunno, some kind of council something or other. You know, the kind of thing that sounds good in my mind but bad in practice.
Well I for one am delighted that that awful joke shop has shut - I couldnt stand the place. Madame Fromage is a fantastic place. I remember posting a few years ago that my concern was that the Castle Arcade was cut off. Pedestrianisation should help.
Couple of things in Queens Arcade this morning: Blackwells have gone from the old Faith shop, that always looked temporary. And weirdly, Whittards have re-opened, bankruptcy must be over then.
Hype are holding a closing down sale too, more good news.
Yes. I was wondering about Whittard as I bought some coffee there just before Christmas
The book shop?
No more questions..
I walked pust Poundland on Queen St. on Saturday evening, and there were more members of staff in there than products! They were dismantling all the fittings and taking large chunks of shelving out of the store... Perhaps it has closed down and is set to reopen somehwere else?
Now that VAT has gone back up to 17.5 % they have to re brand the entire chain as 102.17 penceland for legal reasons.
That's probably what you saw them doing on saturday night-taking the old signs down.
Perhaps we'll get a Poundland Extra in the old Borders unit.. oh no!
I'd love it if it just closed down actually. I don't mind the stores and they can provide a welcome footfall driver for secondary (e.g. Pontypridd) and tertiary (e.g. Cowbridge Road East) centres but for a major city centre, they just drag the place down. Maybe the Echo was right tho and they have signed a lease for somewhere else on Queen Street. This can only mean something a bit more prime on the street though
I'm not sure, I did notice a sign in their window advertising a poundland party for the coming Saturday - they've even got somebody from Coronation Street coming in, as well as a DJ...exciting!
Soccer Sport/Sports World on Queen Street has actually finally closed down!!!
12p? You were ripped off, can pick them up for 9p a pack in Sainsburys these days!
James - realise the that the likes of LIDL and Poundland are very important in helping the spending power of those on lower incomes go further and that anyone can go in there and find something they need/want at a bargain price. However, I don't think its the kind of place you'd go into the city centre for - their core customers of low income workers, students and pensioners will be more likely to pick up their shower gel, soap, paper, pens etc on Albany Road.
At least the shop front isn't too bad
I can confirm Poundland is very much alive and kicking. It's closed for what they have termed 'a re-fresh' which must be a cut price version of a re-furb.
I have to agree with James - great value in there. For stuff like washing powder, toothpaste, shampoo etc it really does pay to stock up. I love a bargain.
The shopfront is actually quite nice as well.
Other city centre related retail news - JD Sports have plastered the former USC unit with posters proclaiming an opening date soon. Envy has now closed.
In Morgan arcade the former Woodies is undergoing a big re-furb (or possibly re-fresh) and seems to have been knocked through so that 3 units are actually one. Would this be happening if there wasn't a specific tenant in mind? Anyone know?
I also recommend Poundland for batteries and 5 pack deals on Irn Bru chew bars.
No idea on Woodies.
Surely the city cetner is expanding so couldnt poundland and the lower class of shops move more towards city road. I know they form an important part of peoples retail offering but not on the main shopping street of Wales.
Oh and i recomend the vimto bon bons
I heartily recommend the multicoloured boxed sets of 5 lighters for a £1. They have small blue inbuilt lights in them.
They keep me entertained for hours on end,flashing them on and then off , on and then off, then on again, then off .........................
Something called Cegin Draig (Dragons Kitchen) due to open in the corner unit of Castle Arcade facing the castle. Also a Baskin Robbins ice cream shop has opened up next to La Vita (the former Cafe Europa) on the same street. When I went past it had many staff and zero customers.
It has been desperately empty since it opened six weeks or so ago.I have actually never seen a single customer in there.
Punters in Cardiff are dreadful for sticking to their 'safe zones' and the location of this (whilst prime in our CWM eyes) looks as if it is too far away from the comfort zone of Queen St to attract trade.
I've often scratched my head in wonderment at the empty units in Castle St. Opposite our main tourist selling point shouldn't this be prime real estate?
Having said that what a bizarre place for an ice cream shop. They can't have done their homework.
More to the point what a strange time of year to open an ice cream shop.
With that kind of logic Jantra I fear that you may be an entrepeneur behind this odd ice cream shop opening in January venture.
I know we've had a couple of rubbish summers, but I'm certain that Ice cream sales are still at least 10 times higher in july than january.
It does seem odd in the extreme to open an ice cream shop in january in Cardiff. Sounds like the start of a script for a BBC3 comedy to me.
it was said very much tongue firmly in cheek
Ice cream sales rise in summer but I think the "in" trade is less seasonal. By the "in" trade I mean indoor ice cream parlours.
Cardiffians are very very very conservative in where the shop, however. Queen Street and St Davids Centre. I realise its still winter and it may be more of a summer street with the cafe quarter at the bottom but the Hayes still seems fairly quiet to me. And the arcades may have seen some upturn in trade but they are still really under-shopped given two of them open directly opposite the 2nd busiest city centre shopping centre in England and Wales (behind Manchester Arndale).
Next time I'm back I'll get an ice cream - I quite like it even on fairly cold days. I might get a prize for being their first customer!
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