Weston Favell Shopping Centre fills every last square foot of retail space with something to offer in every unit
While high streets across the country fight to stand out against the rise of online retailers, Northampton's Weston Favell Shopping Centre is celebrating.
In what must be a rare boast in modern times, the shopping centre is heading into the new year with every available unit filled with with an independent shop, national chain or a community project.
The centre reports that since Pure Gym took up residency in mid-November, all 365,000 square feet of available rental space has now been let.
"I think that makes us one of the only shopping centres in the UK who can say that," says centre manager Kevin Legg.
"I think people want to come and get good old-fashioned service that I think a lot of high streets have lost.
"We're really proud of where we are right now. We're doing great and we want to shout about it.
"If customers haven't been here in a long time I think they will be truly surprised by what we've got."
It comes after the opening of Rushden Lakes shopping complex in July 2017 brought fears that shoppers would be pulled further and further away from Northampton's retailers.
But figures now show footfall for November was up 2.4 per cent compared to the same month last year.
Kevin said: "We've never tried to compete with Rushden Lakes or Milton Keynes. They're a different kind of shopping experience but their shoppers visit once a month. Here, we get regular customers every day and people make the effort to come out here."
Weston Favell's current landlords, RDI REIT PLC, took over the centre in 2013 after former landlords Northampton Holding Ltd went into administration.
Since then, the company has reportedly made £8m worth of investments into the Northampton shopping centre, including the new lifts and atrium and renovating its pedestrian bridges.
Meanwhile, the centre has welcomed new shops in the past two months, including Weston Favell Jewellers, Doodles Dot, Wendy’s Sweetshop and a 24-hour PureGym.
Kevin said: "I do remember how after the last landlords went into administration we were in a state of flux for 12 months. But we kept to our values and we came out the other side and now we're doing a good job.
"The challenges are out there but we just have to be one step ahead.
"In a few months times, it might be we don't have 100 per cent of our units filled but I want to celebrate it while we can."