Opening date confirmed for Next's new Sheffield city centre store
Fashion retailer Next will open its new Sheffield city centre store early next month as the ongoing transformation of The Moor continues at pace.
Fitters have begun work on kitting out the former BHS unit on the shopping street and Phil Huby, head of retail at Aberdeen Standard Investments, said the store will open in less than a fortnight.
Mr Huby said: "It's been a super busy year for the scheme and the big one this year is Next which will open in the first weeks of July. The former BHS unit is a big space right in the heart of the scheme so that is a big opportunity.
"It's a much bigger unit than they had previously - around 42,000 sq ft - right in the middle of The Moor."
Mr Huby, who said Aberdeen Standard Investment had been owrking on the scheme for nine years, said the arrival of Primark on The Moor acted as a 'catalyst' by increasing footfall and boosting spending.
Visitor numbers have risen by four per cent in the year to date.
Mr Huby said: "Primark opening and delivering them to the heart of the scheme was the real catalyst for The Moor moving forward.
"I think Next really crystalises that work and puts The Moor as the definitive destination for shoppers come into Sheffield city centre."
Primark moved to The Moor in October 2016 and Mr Huby added that H&M, New Look and Lane7 Bowling Alley will all be open 'in time for Christmas trading'.
He said: "If you look at Primark and Next, these are the guys that are bucking the trend. Primark are, year after year, recording rising sales growth in fashion and, together with Next, are both at the forefront of strong retail at the minute.
"They are the big units on The Moor and they are the big names that are performing best."
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Mr Huby said construction work was continuing on the site of former toy shop Redgates, with windows being fitted this week. Bosses are 'hoping to announce another leading and significant name fairly soon'.
He said: "We're really pleased with it. We know that with the way footfall has been going - an upwards projection of 20 plus per cent per annum - and that will continue with Next and H&M coming upstream this year.
"What you've got with The Moor is a huge opportunity to take a huge piece of the fourth largest city in the country and, in an organised way, deliver the right units for retailing in its current guise."
Ms Phillips said footfall on The Moor stood at 13.3 million for the year to date – 10.8 per cent up on the year to date and the overall increase for the end of 2018 was 18 per cent.
Mr Huby said: “The Moor is quite a remarkable shining star in an industry that’s under a lot of pressure. to have the rise in footfall and new occupiers who weren’t already in the city is really bucking the trend. Sheffield should be quite proud of that.”
The ongoing redevelopment, previous stages of which included the opening of The Light cinema and the new market hall, helped attract 11.2 million visitors to The Moor in 2017 – up 22 per cent from the previous year.
And it is not just The Moor that seems to be reaping the benefits.
Mr Huby added: “All of this has helped kickstart other developments around the bottom of The Moor – you've got the student accommodation being built, good quality office space and it's no coincidence.
“It acts as a massive catalyst to other activity which everyone can see.”
Kirsty Anderson, Lane7’s head of sales and marketing, said the bowling alley would open ‘this autumn’, bringing a ‘unique experience’.
She said: “We will be bringing our quirky concept to the city after success across the country with locations in Newcastle, Birmingham, Aberdeen, Middlesbrough and Liverpool, up to three further openings scheduled in 2019 and more planned for 2020.
“The two-floor venue will provide a family-friendly offer by day before transforming into a bustling nightlife destination which incorporates bowling and an in-house bar with a relaxed food offering and attractions such as mini golf, retro arcade games, pool and a darts area.”