Retail round-up: five of October’s most interesting North East store openings
ReNew opens in ex-HMV unit
Darlington-based entertainment retailer ReNew opened a store at Stockton’s Wellington Square shopping centre on 5 October, taking the former HMV unit.
The business specialises in refurbished CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays, books and games, with many CDs and DVDs priced at £2 or less.
The store is its third, after previous openings in Darlington and Middlesbrough, while a fourth branch, in Washington, opened today (22 October). Another shop, in Sunderland, is “coming soon”.
Temporary Disney Store opens
It is one of nine temporary Disney Stores across the country to be opened for three months around Christmas – one of the others is in Newcastle (see below) – though Disney will reportedly consider staying longer where the pop-ups are successful.
The North East’s only permanent Disney Stores are currently at Sunderland’s Bridges shopping centre and at Intu Metrocentre.
Disney Store returns
Disney’s arrival (temporarily) fills the only vacant spot in the shopping centre’s Debenhams-anchored St Andrew’s Way, which was occupied by Superdry prior to its relocation to a larger unit.
This isn’t Disney’s first stint in Eldon Square, of course – it once occupied 5-7 Douglas Way (now Lakeland, and before that The Discovery Store and Austin Reed).
Bridges athleisure pop-up
Former star of The Apprentice Katie Bulmer-Cooke has opened a pop-up store in The Bridges, Sunderland, under a KatieBulmer.com banner. The unit was previously home to Mike Ashley’s Van Mildert fashion fascia.
The pop-up is combining the sale of athletic clothing with a fitness studio, hosting bookable health and fitness classes for adults and children. Opened yesterday (21 October), the store will initially operate for six weeks, though there is a possibility of it operating permanently if successful.
Clean supplements brand Natural Nutrients – who my CannyInsights.com business provided marketing mentoring for earlier in 2016 – is among the complementary businesses that also have a presence within the pop-up.
Australian stationery retailer Smiggle opened its 81st UK store in The Bridges, in Sunderland, on 14 October.
The chain has expanded rapidly since entering the UK market in February 2014, and is targeting 200 shops by 2019.
Its other North East branches to date are at Intu Eldon Square in Newcastle and Intu Metrocentre in Gateshead, plus another newly-opened shop in Durham’s Saddler Street (an ex-Pandora site), which also opened on the 14th.
These updates on October’s North East store openings are a sample of what you will find in the upcoming (and inaugural!) issue of my monthly Soult’s Retail Report.
The report is packed with information and insight on the most significant openings, closures and new developments across Britain’s retail centres, organised by region, and covering all parts of the country.
Details of the available subscription packages can be found on my CannyInsights.com website.