Victoria Square, the £400 million shopping centre scheme in Belfast, attracted 70,000 visitors on its opening day last week.
Retailers said the centre had attracted significant interest and they were pleased with the first week of trading. John Barr, manager of menswear store Remus Uomo, which launched a new shopfit at the centre, said: “The first weekend of trading has been fantastic, better than expected. It was a little slower on Monday and Tuesday, but Wednesday was great. It will be a great little centre.”
About 60% of the stores – including Hobbs, H&M, Tommy Hilfiger, Urban Outfitters and Geox – were open on the first day, although the eventual line-up will also include Ted Baker, Reiss, Pull and Bear and German tailoring business Tom Tailor, which is making its UK debut at Victoria Square. These retailers were still finishing off their shopfits as the centre opened its doors. The centre also features several local retailers, including Northern Ireland-based young fashion chain Clockwork Orange.
The centre, developed by AM Developments, is the largest in Northern Ireland and is topped with a spectacular glass dome that gives visitors a view over the city.
The development aims to lure premium-brand shoppers from the local area, who at present often travel out of the city to Dublin, as well as attracting shoppers from the Republic of Ireland.
Victoria Square is the first shopping centre to open in Belfast since Castle Court more than 20 years ago, and has increased the city’s retail space by more than a third.
The new-look House of Fraser department store at the centre is the culmination of 18 months of planning by chief executive John King. It features five floors of fashion and homewares, as well as a restaurant on the top floor.
The HoF store stocks more than 500 brands, including Mulberry, Chloé and Kookaï alongside its own labels Episode and Linea, and offers many brands that are new to the city.