The future looks bright for Blackpool’s main shopping centre – with the owners of the Houndshill saying national retailers are showing a strong interest in the resort.
Despite challenging times on the high street, the arrival of new brands such as Build-A-Bear and Duffer is helping the complex ride out the recession.
Ilan Goldman, European director for Catalyst Capital which bought the centre at the end of 2011 after previous owner Modus went into administration, says they are hoping to fill more units in the near future.
He believes the success of the centre is key to the rest of Blackpool’s high street offer.
Mr Goldman, who is also chairman of the recently formed Blackpool Town Team, said: “The feedback from Build-A-Bear is that their outlet in Blackpool is their best trading store in the country.
“It is also bringing people in who have not been into the town centre for a while and they are seeing all the changes which have been made, so that is good for Blackpool.
“The Debenhams here also consistently meets its targets, and they are doing well.
“That’s what we want - retailers who are trading well.
“There are a lot of retailers interested in coming to Blackpool, and hopefully most of these would be new to the town. The challenge is to get these key deals done.
“Then, those retailers who cannot get into the centre will start to look at Victoria Street and it will grow out from there.
“I’m a great believer in retailer-led regeneration.”
I’m a believer in retail-led regeneration
Mr Goldman, who is originally from Southport, certainly has faith in the town.
He added: “It has been quite difficult since we took over the Houndshill, because we have been working against a quite gloomy economic background.
“The loss of high street names has been more than we ever contemplated.
“But we have bought new retailers in.
I don’t think we need to be afraid of competition from Preston anymore.
“The Houndshill is a quality centre, the creative stuff we have been doing is up for awards, and we have just invested £1.8m in the car park.”
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