Whilst retail in Scunthorpe town centre has suffered set backs this year with the closing of Marks and Spencer back in January followed by TG Hughes in August along with other smaller independent retailers who occupied the High Street and side streets, it does no harm to look at some of the brighter stories that have emerged over the past year.
Local fashion store Fallen Hero moved in April this year from their High Street location to The Parishes shopping centre in a £1-million-plus expansion of the North Lincolnshire company. This year also saw the expansion of two local Jewellers, Coe & Coe moved into larger premises on the High Street whilst Leggotts (seen right) expanded into their neighbouring store increasing the size of their shop, whilst these moves may be only be seen as current traders merely relocating/upsizing it does show that they have confidence in the town centre. There have been downsides too, the Olivia Lawrence store opened in the Parishes Shopping Centre back in June, it offered fashionable women's clothing from sizes 16 to 32, sadly this didn’t survive long before the shop ceased trading.
On the positive side, looking elsewhere in the town new store Poundworld are set to open their new shop in the Foundry Shopping Centre on 25th November at the former Kwiksave site and are also set to open a store at the Scunthorpe Retail Park. Home Bargins have opened their third outlet in the town at the Scunthorpe Retail Park with Matalan also relocating there. In a further boost to this retail park, grocery retailer Iceland are currently in moves to open their third store there next to the newly opened Home Bargins and there is a whisper Peacocks could be looking to open a store there too.
Marks & Spencer also want to return to the town in a new retail park development which would see them as the anchor store along side five other retails units; this has split opinions with townsfolk, the reason of which can be read elsewhere.
On the whole whilst the town centre has seen a migration of retailers from the High Street to the shopping centers there have been new independent businesses moving into a few of those premises which have been vacated. Yes there are a lot of empty shops at the upper end of the High Street and there is currently over 150,000 square feet of empty retail space within the town centre, a shock report this time last year revealed close to a fifth of the 284 shops in Scunthorpe town centre were stood empty but this just mirrors what other town centre are experiencing.
However with new stores opening in Scunthorpe along with current stores expanding their premises this can only be looked upon as positives for the town and an about turn in local retail fortunes.
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