Business booming at shopping centre

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BARGAIN hunters have helped push a shopping centre’s trade up again.

Half-year results showed sales were up by 6.4 per cent at Dalton Park, in Murton, a 5.5 per cent rise on the same period the year before.

The number of cars which passed through its entrance was up by 5.1 per cent, and each visitor has spent one per cent more on their journey to the outlet.

The statistics have been released as the mall marks a busy six months, with several new stores opening and others refurbished.

Launches have included That’s Entertainment, which sells CDs, DVDs and games; The Gift Company, which trades in home products, furniture and garden accessories; and Designer Living, which offers table and bed linen and kitchen items.

The new tenants have taken the occupied space rate to 97 per cent, and Dalton Park managers expect to announce further openings during coming months.

In centre moves include luggage shop Antler and Broomhill, which sells bed sheets and other items, which has taken a bigger space.

BB’s coffee shop has also been refurbished.

The centre’s bosses have highlighted the addition of the brown road signs, diretcing traffic off routes including the A19, its achievement as a level 1 partner in County Durham’s new visitor information network, gold in Durham County Council’s Tidy Business awards, and Welcome to Excellence accreditation for customer service as other plus-points.

Jerry Hatch, general manager for outlets for Knight Frank, the asset managers for Dalton Park, said: “These first-half results follow on from what was a very strong 2011 for the centre.

“Customers clearly recognise the value we offer, the range of top brands available, ease of shopping plus other benefits including free secure parking, plus a year-round programme of promotions and events offering even extra value.”

He added: “Quarter two has been particularly strong with sales and footfall well ahead of last year, as customers escaped the inclement weather in favour of some bargain shopping.”

Craig Dawson, retail director of That’s Entertainment, added: “We were excited about opening but have been delighted with the great success we’ve enjoyed so far, not least due to the superb support we’ve received from the Dalton Park management team.

“Without doubt, one of the best opening experiences we’ve had in our history.”

Planning approval for the phases two of Dalton Park, which includes a large supermarket, petrol station, five-screen cinema, restaurants and a hotel, have been given approval.

However, they have been halted as the owner of Castle Dene shopping centre in Peterlee launched a legal challenge against Durham County Council after it approved the extension along with a plan for a Tesco supermarket in the town.

Castle Dene has its own plan to build a supermarket on its land, but claims there is not enough trade for all three schemes.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham