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27 September 2012, 06:00
A brand new shopping centre in Peterborough is denying it'll hurt struggling retailers in the city centre.
The Brotherhood Shopping Centre is due to fully open by December, but stores are opening in stages from now on, with big-label brands like Top Man, Dorothy Perkins and Next opening large stores - concentrating on fashion.
But with 1 in 7 stores empty across Peterborough, and around 6 out of 10 stores already big chains, Karen Ross from the new centre says there's still a place for them: "Everyone has their regular route to work or route to school - so I think we'll be on their way home from work - rather than being the big weekend destination shopping offer than you'll still see going in (to Peterborough), so I think it'll be different shopping. If people want to go into Peterborough they still will, I think there's enough business around for all of us."
The Local Data Company has told Heart in it's figures ranging from January 2012, 15.5% of retail units in Greater Peterborough were empty, which is higher than the national average of 14.6%. There are also a higher percentage of big chains operating, leading to the city being called a "clone-town" - offering less than the national average of independent retailers.
Around 60% of the city's shops are part of a chain. Next will be the fourth store to open on Thursday 25th October followed by ASDA Living on the 9th November and finally H&M on Saturday 1st December.
Including the parks current tenants Harvey's and Paul Simons, the redevelopment has created Peterborough's "ultimate 260 sq ft shopping destination" according to it's owners, saying: "With concessions within the stores including George, Dorothy Perkins, Burtons, Wallis, Topman, Topshop, Miss Selfridge as well a guest designers for Next and M&S, Brotherhood Shopping Park will truly be a fashion lovers paradise."
Phil Huby, Aberdeen Asset Manager, Brotherhood says: "After years of planning and construction we are delighted to announce that Brotherhood is now complete. The stores will open gradually in the next couple of months ready to provide a great place to shop in the run up to Christmas. 2013 will see many new names added to the park so the regeneration of the Brotherhood scheme has been a great success for us and demonstrates the strength of Peterborough as a place to invest."
A number of events will also take place at the centre, starting on Saturday 27th October with the Just Desserts fair.