Murky Depths

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Bexleyheath

Is Bexleyheath Broadway shopping centre struggling?

I took a rare trip to Bexleyheath’s Broadway shopping centre recently. It’s been a while and the first thing that hit me is just how bland it now is inside after a refurbishment removed all the copper mirrored interior. It had character. Now it could just be any other suburban mall. Dartford, Erith or anywhere.

Burtons on left is seeking rent reduction from shopping centre landlord

Another thing noticeable was two stores are closing imminently after chains went bust. One is fashion shop Select and the other Card Market. Nationwide problems are affecting the centre.

Card Market closing soon

There’s other chains inside that are just about holding on and entering agreements with lenders to keep going. Burton’s is one with Philip Green’s Arcadia group suffering.

Select also to close

There’s also a big Boots branch and a separate opticians. Boots recently announced  a program of 200 store closures and consolidation.

With so many retailers going under or asking for rent reductions, shopping centre owners face heavy hits on income.

One method to raise income is to build housing or offices above shops to create mixed-use developments. Lewisham shopping centre is going down that route. Will we see the same in Bexleyheath? Selling homes (or renting out long term) offers an additional revenue stream for owners and more customers for retailers below.

New developments to east

The centre did well to attract Morleys department store in a tough retail market – particularly for department stores.

The town centre is also still busy and bustling and development continues apace in some areas. But some tough times for the centre look likely in the short term at least. And long term could it radically change? One to keep an eye on.

 

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4 Comments

  1. CDT

    It is a shame if Bexleyheath Shopping Centre is struggling as Bexleyheath always seems busy and is buzzing at the weekends. Again shopping centres like our High Streets the shops do not tend to be open in the evening with many closed by 17:30 or 18:00 hours. So difficult for people to shop after work. Because of this many people tend to drive to the out of town shopping outlets where shops tend to be open until at least 10 pm on Monday to Saturdays or shop on line.

    If we want to save our Shopping Centres and our High Streets we need to be able to use them in the evenings. This will also support the local economy and other local businesses like pubs restaurants and cinemas for example.

    It will also allow the creation of more jobs in the retail sector to cover the extended opening hours after losing so many retail jobs with the closure of many high street names of late which has hit our High Streets hard.

  2. Jo

    They did well to get a replacement for BHS given dire straights of many department stores like house of fraser and debenhams. If M&S closes half their big two-part store it’d be a big blow – and they are not doing well on the clothing front.

    Retail is changing and once one retailer asks for cheaper rent all others demand it and the owners either agree or not. A risky game. Redevelopment ultimately brings in more money.

    In 10 years time I believe some will be rebuilt.

  3. CDT

    I agree Jo. Morley’s department store taking over the space which BHS occupied was great boost for the Shopping Centre. I really hope that Marks & Spencer’s are not forced to close half of there large store in the Centre. I really hope they can find a successful solution to keep both sections of the store open in Bexleyheath. .

  4. Joe

    Used to work there, they’re properly going down! Poor management. They brought a new company that took over cleaners and security and now they’re called customer service operatives, so security does cleaning, absolute joke. All our team including the security manager and assistant manager walked out in a matter of two weeks last year. Since then I heard it’s gone worse.

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