Arc’s happy second birthday

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THIS weekend marks the second birthday of the arc shopping centre in Bury St Edmunds which is reporting record shopper footfall.

Figures from Experian have shown that in the week of February 21 to 27 there was a footfall of 162,818, 18 per cent higher than the same week in 2010 and 5.2 per cent above the national average.

Car park use on January is also reported to be up by 11.5 per cent on the previous year.

Paul Haynes, centre manager said: We are very pleased at how well the centre is doing, All 62 apartments have been sold and we have lots of interest in our empty units and our stores are continuing to trade really well.”

Mr Haynes said that initially the new shopping centre was viewed with some scepticim by some residents but arc managers were working with town centre stakeholders to ensure the arc was seen as part of the overall town environment and retail offer.

Mr Haynes added that recent figures had shown that Bury had a much better level of shop vacancies than the national average.

The national vancancy rate for town centres at the end of 2010 was 14.5 per cent but in Bury this was just six per cent. The arc has six empty retail units with firm interest in three.

There had also been more than 100 events in Charter Square including ice skating, classic car shows, Morris dancing and the Easter Passion play. The arc was also an integral part of recent homecoming parades for servicemen from the region.

The VSG, team which manages security at the centre, was presented with an award in recognition of its outstanding customer service during 2010. The centre itself has also been recognised and received a BCSC Gold award for Best New Shopping Centre while Mr Haynes was named as runner up in the Sceptre UK national shopping centre manager of the year awards.