Hampshire-based shopping centre Whiteley has opened its doors today ahead of four days of special events over the Bank Holiday as it seeks to boost footfall in the area.
The £64 million redevelopment has created some 1,000 jobs and houses over 50 stores, including Fat Face, Marks and Spencer and Topshop.
Whiteley was initially demolished in 2011 after failing to keep up with competitors in the area though the 300,000 sq ft centre, a joint venture by property firm British Land and Universities Superannuation Scheme, is expected to prove popular with shoppers thanks to its broad retail offering.
Accessible via Junction nine of the M27, the centre is adjacent to an existing Tesco supermarket and Centre Manager Neil Carter told BBC News that it is well-positioned to entice shoppers.
“Because we are so close to both cities, but we are right off the M27, we’ve got good transport links and we have free parking.
“I think it’s all about being in the right location.”
Following a successful opening day, Carter told Retail Gazette: “It’s been a great day for us - to finally open our doors and allow people in to see the brand new Whiteley for the first time.
“The response from local shoppers has been fantastic – we had people queuing from 8am and everyone was delighted by their new town centre.
“For those that didn’t make it down today, we still have plenty planned for the Bank Holiday weekend.
“As well as special offers from retailers, and entertainment for all the family, don’t forget we all have lots of cafe and restaurants to enjoy.”