01 December 2023
Wolverhampton enjoys pre-pandemic footfall, new retail openings and fully occupied shopping centre
Wolverhampton’s Wulfrun Centre is bucking national retail trends with an occupancy rate of 100%.
The Mander Centre and city centre have also seen a succession of new store and restaurant openings and refurbishments in the past 12 months.
The openings coincide with recent city centre footfall data surpassing 2019 figures for the first time since the pandemic.
In the week commencing 2 October, 150,000 people visited the Mander Centre. The yearly total is expected to reach 8 million.
City centre store openings include national brands Menkind and Batch’d, regional retailer Little Italy Menswear, and independent food outlet Hello Tacos. The rapidly expanding international Black Sheep Coffee is opening soon.
Richard Scharenguivel, Mander Centre Manager said “We've seen a lot of success from stores, both national and independents, that have taken space or have modernised their store in the centre.
“Last year, Boots spent a million pounds on refreshing their store. They’ve had new fixtures and fittings to offer a more modern feel to customers, as well as new ranges.
“They now have a much bigger space dedicated to cosmetics and fragrance and, as a result of that, have seen some great growth in the store.
“National retailers would not make that kind of investment if there wasn’t a demand.”
The Wulfrun Centre, which is owned by LPC Properties, is home to national brands including Primark, Pandora and Specsavers, independent retailers and food outlets, as well as the Job Centre.
Bruno Coppola, Wulfrun Centre Manager said: “A lot of people still value human contact and a shopping centre is a lot more than just a range of shops. It's a meeting place, a living and breathing environment.
“The Wulfrun Centre is in a very privileged position. Very few shopping centres are experiencing a hundred percent let. It’s down to a combination of the right place, right price and right people.
“However, we’re not going to sit back and be complacent. This is where our opportunity comes. We’ve got to keep pushing forwards and see how we can keep making things better.”
Richard Scharenguivel added: “Post pandemic we've seen customers wanting to return to shopping by visiting stores, particularly regional and local shopping centres. They want to be able to interact with other people and physically see the product as well before they buy.
“Shopping centres have also had to adapt and evolve since the pandemic. Nationally, there is too much retail space, so generally they will be looking at how they can adapt to customer demand and repurpose vacant space for other uses than retail.
“That might be converting space to residential use. It might be introducing more leisure or office space within the centres. It could be health or educational provisions.
“There's a whole multitude of different sectors that could dovetail within the shopping centres, creating a vibrant environment.”
The Mander Centre and Wulfrun Centre are both represented on the Wolverhampton BID board.
Cherry Shine, Managing Director of Wolverhampton BID said, “We understand that ‘experience’ is a fundamental part of what our city has to offer and appreciate that our shopping centres are part of delivering that welcoming, friendly and inviting experience for everyone to enjoy.
“Collaboration is key to the success of Wolverhampton and with two really strong shopping centres, and the teams behind them, there is something for all budgets and tastes.
“They are driving forces for the future of Wolverhampton, so having them involved and immersed in conversations about the city is essential.”
The Mander Centre and Wulfrun Centre have a range of activities for families to enjoy throughout the festive period.
For more information visit https://enjoywolverhampton.com/
For more information about Wolverhampton BID and Enjoy Wolverhampton, please contact Shaun Boyce on email@example.com
Receive City News, information about exciting events, family entertainment and updates about Wolverhampton City Centre right to your inbox.