New store for centre but ‘change is needed’

HOLDING THE LINE: Mr Winter.
HOLDING THE LINE: Mr Winter.
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GLENROTHES’ main shopping mall needs a new influx of stores in the face of growing competition from other town centres and online retailers, reports MIKE DELANEY.

That was the view of a large number of visitors to our ‘Facebook’ page, whose comments were prompted by our revelation that a new clothes store is to open in the premises formerly occupied by d2, which closed in December.

Their responses also chimed with a new survey which shows that town centres are losing the battle with internet retailers.

Hoi Polloi is expected to open in the next few weeks, providing a respite from recent closures which have also included Peacocks.

While it is obviously a welcome sign to see shops opening rather than closing, people seemed underwhelmed by the news.

They felt there was a surplus of mobile phone, baker, card, games and holiday shops in the local mall and some added that, because they were reluctant to travel to other towns – particularly with young children – they were now increasingly shopping online.

That was anecdotal confirmation of a trend noted by professional services giant Deloittes, which claimed in a report also issued last week that four out of 10 town centre shops will shut over the next five years as online shopping becomes more popular.

Centre manager, Robert Winter appealed to people to support theirlocal stores.

He said: “We are experiencing an increase in the interest in available units over recent months which is very welcoming.

“We hope to be able to announce additional store openings in the not to distant future.

“Online shopping has experienced significant growth over the past few years and does potentially offer an increasing threat to ‘brick’ retail stores and shopping centres.

“To counteract this it is of great importance to focus on the customer experience that physical stores and malls can offer and which can’t be experienced online.

“This is part of the reason why at the centre we have invested extensively in our customer service training and standards in recent years, winning the British Council of Shopping Centre’s National Achieving Customer Excellence Award in 2010.

“We also focus heavily on providing a regular programme of events and activities at the centre to provide customers with an additional reason to visit.

“To ensure the future sustainability however it is vital that communities support their local shopping centres and retailers and shop locally wherever possible.”