Poundland to take Eldon Square spot next to Waitrose

Soon-to-be Poundland in St George's Way (19 May 2014). Photograph by Graham Soult

Soon-to-be Poundland in St George’s Way (19 May 2014)

If you’ve passed through the St George’s Way mall of Newcastle’s Eldon Square in the last few days, you’ll have noticed new hoardings around the three units that sit between Waitrose and Costa.

Though St George’s Way – opened on the old Eldon Square bus station site in February 2008 – is markedly busier these days than when I wrote … Continue Reading

A business built on “staff knowledge and passion”: Q&A with Leisure Lakes Bikes

Interior of Leisure Lakes Bikes Daventry flagship

Interior of Leisure Lakes Bikes Daventry flagship

One of the most interesting things to emerge from my regular Retailer Q&A features is a sense of how different, longstanding independents are navigating the increasingly multichannel retail landscape – whether that’s the 90-year-old Charles Clinkard footwear business using online as an “engine of growth” alongside continued high street expansion, or … Continue Reading

Selling “treasures” online in the fast-growing fashion accessories space: Q&A with Tesoros

Tesoros homepage (11 Apr 2014)

Tesoros homepage (11 Apr 2014)

With my CannySites.com business traditionally focusing upon stores in the home, garden and holidays space, it’s fair to say that fashion probably hasn’t been my hottest area of retail expertise up to now.

Happily, that’s starting to change since I launched the Fashion & Style Directory back in February, with my life starting to embrace discussions of illusion dresses, wireless bras, and vintage-style cravats.

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New Gateshead Poundland to open on 29 March – with existing store retained for now

Site of Poundland, Trinity Square, Gateshead (2 March 2014). Photograph by Graham Soult

Site of Poundland, Trinity Square, Gateshead (2 March 2014)

One of the eight new Poundland stores scheduled to open by the end of March is the long-awaited branch at Gateshead’s Trinity Square development, which Poundland’s new … Continue Reading

As Poundland prepares to float, what are the secrets of “the new Woolies’” success?

Poundland, Hexham (19 Nov 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Poundland, Hexham (19 Nov 2011)

As Poundland gets ready to float on the London Stock Exchange this week, in a move expected to value the business at £750m – similar in size to JD Sports Fashion – it’s inevitably prompted analysis of just how Poundland has become so successful, so quickly.

When I wrote a … Continue Reading

Nine months in, Gateshead’s Trinity Square hits footfall high and eyes 100% occupancy

Trinity Square, Gateshead (20 Feb 2014). Photograph by Graham Soult

Trinity Square, Gateshead (20 Feb 2014)

When Gateshead’s Trinity Square opened its doors in May last year, you could have been forgiven for being a little underwhelmed by the extent of the retail offer.

Sure, it was hard not to be impressed, as I was, by the scale and quality of the new Tesco; … Continue Reading

Charles Clinkard Q&A: “Maintaining good relationships with suppliers is key”

Charles Clinkard store in Byres Road, Glasgow (7 Dec 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult

Charles Clinkard store in Byres Road, Glasgow (7 Dec 2012)

Think of a great northern city, and the chances are that you’ll bring to mind one of the great northern retailers that’s based there.

Bradford has Morrisons and Leeds has Asda (and was the birthplace of M&S), while the North West is awash with big retail firms, from the Manchester-based Co-operative Group to Liverpool’s cluster of well-known chains that includes B&M, TJ Morris (owner of Home Bargains), TJ … Continue Reading

Tips for indie retail success at Spring Fair today

Spring Fair website (2 Feb 2014). Photograph by Graham Soult

Spring Fair website (2 Feb 2014)

In what seems to be becoming a regular occurrence, I’m off to Spring Fair International at the NEC today (Monday 3 February) where – as at last year’s Autumn Fair – I’ll have the pleasure of sharing the stage with a raft of interesting and successful independents.

Where last time focused on sharing experiences of starting a retail business, today’s session – in the Trends Theatre from 13:00 to 13:45 – will explore … Continue Reading

Five years after closure, Newton Aycliffe Woolworths may soon be occupied

Externally revamped ex-Woolworths in Newton Aycliffe (5 Jan 2014). Photograph by Graham Soult

Externally revamped ex-Woolworths in Newton Aycliffe (5 Jan 2014)

If you’ve managed to miss me hogging the airwaves this morning – on BBC Radio 5 Live (which you can listen to here), Wales, Scotland, and Coventry & Warwickshire so far – you may not be aware that today is the fifth anniversary of Woolworths finally closing its doors.

On 6 January 2009, the last … Continue Reading

Promoting the fair trade cause: Retailer Q&A with The Home Decor Company

Screenshot of Home Decor Company website (2 Dec 2013)

Screenshot of Home Decor Company website (2 Dec 2013)

Though navigating the economic downturn continues to challenge many stores, one of the fascinating subtexts has been the growth of new independent retailers, sometimes borne out of individuals who have faced redundancy – perhaps in the public sector – and who have sensed the opportunity to take on a new and different challenge in the retail world.

Founded in September this year by Newcastle-based Adrienne and Kevin Rucroft, … Continue Reading

Five years on from Woolies’ collapse, Boyes signs for the Coalville store

Former Woolworths, Coalville (24 Aug 2010). Photograph by Graham Soult

Former Woolworths, Coalville (24 Aug 2010)

It’s hard to believe that it’s five years ago today – on 26 November 2008 – that Woolworths collapsed into administration after trading in the UK for nearly 100 years.

At that time, few could have expected that just 40 days later – on 6 … Continue Reading

Exclusive: Lego Store set for 29 November opening at Intu Metrocentre

Soult minifigure at the Trinity Leeds Lego Store (15 Aug 2013). Photograph by Graham Soult

Soult minifigure at the Trinity Leeds Lego Store (15 Aug 2013)

The new Lego Store at Gateshead’s Intu Metrocentre is to open on Friday 29 November, I understand.

The imminent opening of the store seems to have prompted much excitement among North East Lego enthusiasts – many of them somewhat older than the Danish toy brand’s core market – since the appearance of job adverts … Continue Reading

“We present a new way of shopping”: Retailer Q&A with The Longest Stay

Cover of The Longest Stay Magazine

Cover of The Longest Stay Magazine

As you’d expect, running the Home Interiors Directory (part of my CannySites.com business) means that I get to work with a lot of etailers who are operating in - and competing in – the interiors and home furnishings space. From category-straddling big names like Sainsbury’s and Dunelm, to smaller specialists in rugs, sofas or glassware, all are aiming to communicate a USP in terms … Continue Reading

Resurgent Game reopens axed stores in Newcastle and Sunderland

Reopened Game store in Grainger Street, Newcastle (24 Oct 2013). Photograph by Graham Soult

Reopened Game store in Grainger Street, Newcastle (24 Oct 2013)

A year and a half after 21 North East stores closed following Game’s collapse into administration, two of those shops – in Grainger Street, Newcastle and High Street West,Sunderland – are reopening.

The Gamestation-branded shop in Grainger Street … Continue Reading

Fenwick Newcastle’s autumn window impresses – but WHSmith opposite falls short

Autumn window at Fenwick, Newcastle (14 Oct 2013). Photograph by Graham Soult

Autumn window at Fenwick, Newcastle (14 Oct 2013)

Newcastle’s iconic Fenwick department store is rightly known for its annual Christmas window – which can’t, scarily, be very far off making its appearance for 2013.

Last year I captured the Christmas window being set up on 30 October (below), so on that basis we can expect to see festive activity kicking off in Northumberland Street in just a week’s … Continue Reading

Adidas and Toys R Us move quickly to fill Intu Eldon Square voids

Adidas announcing its presence at Eldon Square (14 Oct 2013). Photograph by Graham Soult

Adidas announcing its presence at Eldon Square (14 Oct 2013)

In recent months, the St Andrew’s Way section of Newcastle’s Eldon Square has seen its first tenant departures since opening in February 2010, with the loss of Republic and Guess. Both units are … Continue Reading

B&M recruits for Gateshead Team Valley store ahead of 16 November opening

B&M Bargains site - as PC World - at Team Valley Retail World (2 May 2013). Photograph by Graham Soult

B&M Bargains site – as PC World – at Team Valley Retail World (2 May 2013)

The thriving discount retailer B&M is recruiting staff for its new Gateshead store, which is scheduled to open at Team Valley Retail World on Saturday 16 November.

Various permanent roles, including … Continue Reading

Good news for Sunderland as fashion store Utopia takes over ex-Peacocks

Utopia (ex-Peacocks), Sunderland (18 Oct 2013). Photograph by Graham Soult

Utopia (ex-Peacocks), Sunderland (18 Oct 2013)

Sunderland’s ex-Peacocks unit in The Bridges is finally to be reoccupied, after more than 18 months of vacancy.

The prominent Market Square store was one of ten North East branches that closed following Edinburgh Woollen Mill’s rescue of 400 Peacocks stores in February last year. Now, after months of … Continue Reading

Old Woolies fascia exposed as Byker Wetherspoon’s readies for October opening

Exposed 1970s Woolworths fascia at new Byker Wetherspoon pub (28 Aug 2013). Photograph by Graham Soult

Exposed 1970s Woolworths fascia at new Byker Wetherspoon pub (28 Aug 2013)

The Newcastle suburb of Byker will gain a welcome addition when its new Wetherspoon pub – … Continue Reading

Tracking down Darlington’s original Woolworths – 73 years after it relocated

Darlington's Woolworths site from 1940 to 2008 (3 May 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult

Darlington’s Woolworths site from 1940 to 2008 (3 May 2012)

Never one to let a good Woolworths anniversary pass me by, today – 20 September 2013 – represents 73 years since Darlington’s Woolworths store relocated from its original premises, opened on 27 September 1913, to what would become its more familiar location at 12-18 Northgate.

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