Shoppers return to Swindon town centre
9:30am Thursday 29th August 2013 in News
BUSINESS is on the up in the town centre, several retailers in the town have reported.
Following a downturn in trade during the recession, shoppers are again returning and life is beginning to come back to the high street.
During the summer the hot weather has helped to keep the shops and streets busy, with footfall in the town reportedly on the increase.
Last week, HMV again opened its doors and management say this is largely down to the popularity of the high street.
“There is certainly still life in the street as people still like to go to a shop,” said Craig Ings, a supervisor at HMV who has worked in the town centre for eight years.
“Many people hold this belief that shopping is mostly done on the internet but that is not my experience.
“When people heard we were shutting down they came and said how much they were going to miss us.
“Since we have opened again people have come up to say they are pleased to have the shop back.”
Craig believes Swindon high street has a lot to offer and with future developments planned the future is looking bright.
He said: “The large number of branded stores are what you would normally expect to find in a big city or shopping centre.
“There are also a lot of boutique stores for people who want something else.
“It is a really good mix of big names and independent shops.”
One criticism often given to the town centre is that there are too many closed units but some retailers have argued many have been replaced with new shops.
Charlotte Farrow is the trainee manager at Lush, in Canal Walk, and she says she has seen a recent improvement in trading conditions.
She said: “Of course we have lost some shops but there are new ones opening all the time so there is definitely still plenty to attract people to the town.
“Things have been difficult but there is no doubt its improving.
“I work in town every day and there are obviously more and more people coming in.”
There is also optimism in forthcoming developments in and around the town centre.
Work has begun on building a cinema, a restaurant and a supermarket at Regent Circus.
Traders are hoping when it is complete it will offer shoppers another reason to come into the town.
Brogan’s cafe, in Havelock Street, opened last November and the manager says while business has been good, people will be more likely to come to the town if there is more to do.
“We have been very busy so it’s not true to say the town centre is dead,” said boss Lizzie Doherty.
“There are a lot of good things which are put on in the town, but it will be great when there is a cinema because people will stay in town for longer.”
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