Footfall at Parkway Shopping up on prepandemic levels as Newbury's retail scene booms
Newbury’s town centre appears to be booming – with footfall in some areas now up on pre-pandemic levels as people head back to shops, cafes and restaurants.
In recent months a host of exciting new businesses have opened or are soon to open in the town centre and Parkway Shopping centre manager, Andy Marmot, said things were looking “nicely positive” for the town.
“It is safe to say we have had a really strong start to the year,” he said. “It reflects the positivity the industry is feeling in general about retail in Newbury and the shires.
“Footfall is up on 2019.”
The latest addition to Parkway Shopping is a bubble tea shop, which will open its doors to the public “very soon”.
There have been seven businesses open in Parkway Shopping alone this year, following the successful opening of Honesty Café at the beginning of the year.
Suit Direct and designer store Robert Goddard both opened in June, with gifts and goods shop Artisans Handmade and skiwear specialist Montagne Snow and Walk also opening under temporary licenses.
School uniform supplier Skoolkit will be re-locating from the Kennet Shopping centre to a bigger unit in Parkway this year, following in the footsteps of its new neighbour Isabel’s Retro.
Mr Marmot said two further stores were also finalising their moves to the shopping centre and added that offering new businesses the opportunity to test the waters in Newbury as a pop-up store in vacant units in Parkway was another way to encourage new shops to the town.
Melissa Hughes, chief executive at Newbury Business Improvement District (BID) said: “We’re delighted to see such a variety of new businesses open in Newbury this year – particularly in more recent months – and are pleased business owners recognise Newbury’s potential.
"We have been working hard alongside other town centre partners to raise Newbury’s profile as a visitor and business destination, and we hope this is just the beginning of Newbury’s growth, as the hunger to open a business in the town centre only increases.”
In recent months independently-owned florist Floral Beauts has opened on Northbrook Street, while health food and supplement store Fit Cookie opened on Bartholomew Street.
Speciality coffee shop The Goan Caff, run by husband-and-wife duo, the Rebelos, also opened just up the road.
Reagan Rebelos said: “We’re very excited to be a part of this bustling town and look forward to welcoming more and more residents and visitors to The Goan Caff so they can see how we differ from other cafés on the high street, while experiencing exceptional service with a smile – which I know rings true for most the independent businesses in Bartholomew Street.”
Lumber Distillers, the company behind 137 Gin, has opened new gin experience bar and eatery Eat.Drink.Distil in Parkway Shopping and British tapas restaurant and wine bar Goat on the Roof has opened on Bridge Street.
Around the corner Turkuaz – a new Turkish restaurant – is preparing to take over the previous Bella Italia unit in Market Place, while Italian-chain Zizzi’s is currently recruiting for its new restaurant in the old Strada unit.
Sushizen, a Japanese restaurant, is due to open on Bartholomew Street in August and a premises license application has been received for a new bar in the unit previously occupied by the Hog & Hedge coffee shop on Northbrook Street.
Craft, stationery and haberdashery store Brown Paper Loves has opened in Inches Yard and Framemaker Galleries has re-opened in its former unit on Northbrook Street.
Esports and motorsports simulation company Forrest Motorsports will also be opening a new virtual reality experience in Weaver’s Walk.
Warwick Heskins, chairman of Newbury BID and owner of the Catherine Wheel and Spare Wheel, added: “It’s great to see Newbury’s offering strengthen, with these new businesses bringing something unique and different to complement the existing businesses already lining Newbury’s historic streets.
"It’s important that businesses’ owners – particularly those running independent venues – collaborate to create a strong community which helps to establish a sense of place for Newbury and ultimately attract new visitors."