Virtually a 3rd of Royal Victoria Place’s models are empty as extra large names go away Tunbridge Wells
An examination of the shops at Royal Victoria Place shopping center in Tunbridge Wells shows that almost a third are closed.
And with the H&M Kids store closing announced yesterday on January 21 and the packing of Gandy’s clothing store this week, that number is set to rise.
Another recent departure was the Fuel Juice Bar and the closure of the popular The Nutmeg Tree last year was seen as a major loss to the center.
In downtown Ely Court’s covered pedestrian area, each of the 12 stores are closed, including the newest abandoned LoGi cafe. The mini mall is now eerily quiet with only bare windows and piped muzak to welcome shoppers. Only the offices of the RTW Together organization occupy a shop.
That is almost three times the average vacancy rate
Kent Live counted 28 closed and 65 open units out of a total of 93 units – which meant just over 30 percent of the closed units. According to The Local Data Company, the average vacancy rate on major streets in 2017 was 11 percent.
There are two closed and four open concessions in the food court, but branded panels over empty units hide the real number that are left over.
On the subject of matching items
And the company that manages the vacant BHS building told Kent Live this week that it has no news of a new tenant.
It’s not a positive picture outside of the RVP where the center’s big empty white stuff shop and others stand empty.
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The center has planning permission for a £ 70 million upgrade that includes a movie theater and more shops and restaurants. But last year’s spring start date has been postponed to the “first half” of this year.
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council owns the land leased to center owner Hermes. It told Kent Live that it was in regular contact with the company and center management but would not comment on any start date for the upgrade.
When asked if the council was concerned about the city’s economic viability amid the centre’s store closings, a spokesman said: “The council is confident about the long-term economic viability of Royal Tunbridge Wells and the RVP shopping center while closings are taking place planned, but an unfortunate temporary impact as part of the preparatory work for the redevelopment of the mall. “
Kent Live has contacted Hermes for comment.
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Another department store
The industry magazine Estates Gazette reported last November that Hermes was ready to sell its center to British Land. Kent Live approached British Land for comment.
A quick look at the landscape
At the national level, retailers are not doing much better, as a Center for Retail Research (CRR) forecast for 2018 suggests that one in five retailers could close this year.
The 2013 report said the number of UK retail stores could drop from 281,930 to 222,000, which could result in a projected loss of 316,000 jobs.
This may come as no surprise when you consider that 82 percent of the 160 BHS stores that have been closed are still empty.
According to research by the Local Data Company, four stores were demolished and only 25 successfully re-let.
There are exceptions, however; Businesses selling services as opposed to goods are flourishing, for example: in 2016, 1,312 barbershop, hairdressers and nail / beauty salons opened in the UK.
In 2016, 551 tobacco shops (vape shops) were also opened.
Since the service is still relatively new, consumers prefer to drop by in person before buying and seek advice from a dealer.