Fargate health check: all the changes on this important Sheffield shopping street in 2020

Here, we run through all the openings, closures and re-locations in what has been the worst year for many businesses – although better times beckon.

Friday, 15th January 2021, 4:45 pm

2020 was long and difficult for retailers and the impact can be seen as clearly in Sheffield as anywhere else.

In a special ‘health check’ The Star teamed up with Diane Jarvis, manager of Sheffield Business Improvement District, to record all the changes on Fargate last year.

It comes amid intense interest in the premium shopping street, which is set to benefit from a revamp, starting this year, under the £20m Future High Streets Fund. It is set to include landscaping and a new focus on events and dining.

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Fargate on Boxing Day 2020.

There are more than 35 units on Fargate and it’s safe to say a record number are empty. It follows business shifting online and to The Moor, which has had a revamp of its own - and the pandemic.

The impact of Lockdown 3.0 and whether it leads to even more closures, is unknown.

Also, the annual Christmas market on Fargate did not take place in 2020.

Ms Jarvis said: “Everyone’s aware retail has been in decline and Covid accelerated that. Many once thriving retailers are struggling to survive the second wave and the third national lockdown.

Fargate on full lockdown on January 5, 2021.

"There’s been a record increase in shuttered shops, but that’s not unique to Sheffield and vacancies may continue to rise. Meanwhile, investors are holding off in the short term.

“But the city centre is about more than just retail and needs a good cultural and leisure offer as well. “There are a lot of positive things happening in the city. Fargate will become a destination rather than purely retail and I look forward to some changes this year.”

The Fargate list:

1: Virgin Money. Closed its Money Lounge - beloved of pensioners for its unlimited free wifi, biscuits and drinks - in the first lockdown. It will never reopen after the business merged with Yorkshire Bank and staff were relocated into Virgin Money. Set to reopen as an ordinary bank after lockdown.

A visualisation of Fargate at night. Picture: University of Sheffield.

2: Metro Bank - opened in spring 2020 in what was the old River Island store. The clothes shop relocated to The Moor in 2019.

3: The Perfume Shop - no change

4: O2 mobile phone shop - no change

5: Outlet clothes store – opened in 2020. Previously New Look which moved to The Moor in 2019.

Greggs on Fargate is unchanged.

6: WHSmith - no change

7: Santander - no change

8: Thorntons chocolates - no change

9: EE mobile phone shop - no change

10: Lush cosmetics - no change

11: Vape shop

M&S Food Hall at the department store on Fargate is open for essential food and products. New M&S Sheffield manager, Chris Venters.

12: Outlet clothes store. Previously Clintons Cards which closed in 2017.

13: Pandora jewellery - closed in 2020

14: Office shoes - closed in 2020

15: Carphone Warehouse - closed in 2020

16: Greggs - no change

17: Hotel Chocolat - no change

18: Starbucks - no change

19: Pret a Manger - closed in 2020

The other side:

20: Boots (technically High Street) - no change

21: Caffe Nero - no change

22: Empty. Previously a Christmas shop. Virgin Media closed in 2017.

23: Paperchase stationery - in administration, at risk of closure.

24: H Samuel - closed in 2020

25: Fargate House - entrance to new flats above Paperchase (behind scaffolding for much of the year)

26: Marks and Spencer - no change. Fargate’s biggest and most important shop.

27: Superdrug – opened in 2020. Was Topshop.

28: Entrance – under construction. The other half of what was Topshop. London fund Nuveen is converting the building into offices.

29: Hays Travel - was Thomas Cook

30: Vision Express - no change

31: Empty - was Next which moved to The Moor in 2019. Cleared out in 2020 but work on proposed restaurant has not started.

32: Three mobile phone shop - no change

33: H&N - no change. Said to be staying on Fargate for now. Major new shop opened on The Moor in 2020.

34: Footlocker - no change

35: HSBC bank - no change

36: Yorkshire Bank – closed in 2020. Fargate's biggest empty building?

It is also worth mentioning three openings in the city council’s Heart of the City 2 scheme: clothes shops Monki and Weekday and Marmaduke’s cafe.

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New office entrance being created on Fargate, next to Superdrug.
Metro Bank opened in spring 2020.
The Fargate Christmas Market did not happen in 2020.