Arcade loses more shops

Dewsbury Arcade. (D523E309)
Dewsbury Arcade. (D523E309)
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The historic Dewsbury Arcade is still struggling to attract new retailers, a survey by the Reporter has found.

Three months on from our special report on town centre trade, we revisited the same shopping areas to see if there were signs of improvement.

The arcade remained the area with the lowest occupancy rate, with 59 per cent of its units now standing empty.

Corporation Street had also seen the number of units in use fall over the past three months.

The former Mark Betts salon remains empty and Kirkwood Hospice has relocated to the Princes of Wales Precinct.

Anne’s Kitchen, which opened last December, has also stopped trading.

But it’s not all doom and gloom as three areas now boast 100 per cent occupancy .

All units in Northgate, Queensway Arcade and Kingsway Arcade are in use after a bed company moved into the former Hudson’s store.

And high street retailer Superdrug has reversed its decision to close its shop in the Precinct.

At its June meeting, Dewsbury Chamber of Trade welcomed news that the store had signed a new two-year lease.

The meeting also heard that PDSA, which has a charity shop in Foundry Street, was set to move into the empty unit next to Max Speilman’s in the precinct.

The decision of one retailer to sign a new lease and two more to relocate to the precinct will be welcome news to agents selling the centre, which has seen a six per centre increase in occupancy.

The precinct was put on the market by owners Ravenhill Estates in January, with an asking price of around £14m.

Agents Jones Lang LaSalle told the Reporter last month that the property was under offer – but contracts were yet to be exchanged.

It had been hoped the sale would be completed by now, but retail director Kevin Donohue said matters were progressing “slower than expected.”

Other areas to have increased their occupancy rates in the past three months are Foundry Street and Daisy Hill, both of which have several units which have stood empty since last year.