The retail details for Norwich city centre stores

One of Norwich’s most prominent vacant stores has been finally bought after Topshop were forced to close the site following the collapse of Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group. Despite fears the unit in the Haymarket would struggle to find a buyer, a three-million-pound purchase is expected to be completed by the end of this month. 

The buyer is thought to be a locally based “national property developer which specialises in mixed-use developments”. Tim Ashe, an associate director of the real estate GWC behind the sale, told reporters “the buyer does all sorts of things, from retail to residential and offices – you can probably expect some kind of mixed-use adaptation.

He also suggested the catchment area made it less vulnerable to major closures than towns and cities in other counties, saying “major retailers that maybe once had 200 or 300 branches nationwide are wanting to cut that down to say 100-or so, but to these companies Norwich is an attractive place to be…a strange part of the world where you’re about an hour or so away from the nearest big city, whereas if you look at Yorkshire you have big cities like York and Leeds close to one another, so they’re more likely to lose one of them.”

However, many of the city’s most notable vacant spots have yet to be re-occupied, prompting concerns from local businesses and consumers alike. Debenhams closed in May, but the six-storey building – one of the largest retail spaces in the city – has yet to confirm a purchase. This comes after it was widely assumed a single buyer had been found in July with “positive plans” for the site. The former BHS in St Stephens Street closed in 2016 following the collapse of the high street giant and having been temporarily occupied by Primark until the retailer moved to a permanent location in the city centre, the storefront has been left uninhabited.

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Sam Gordon Webb

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November 2021
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