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Northumberland Import
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1,580 Posts
Re - The new Next

This has been a long long time coming and is part of a saga that I had involvement with at the time.

When C&A closed down, Next put in a bid on the site at Northumberland Street, the Estates Dept Manager then went on holiday and amazingly no further bids were made. When he returned he contacted the leaseholder and was stunned to learn Primark had secured the building. It was of great embarassement at the time.

The current Next building suffers from a few problems. It's latest refit was done on the cheap, the new floor was built upon the old floor and you'll notice how uneven it is. The pipework and electrics are incredibly old and were very unreliable and the rear of the building is prone to severe flooding. I do whether BHS will use the whole site as it is or renovate to use higher floors as the basement floor (childrens) has very low roofing and had no work done to it in the previous refit

There's a large stockroom and admin floor above mens and home and further above that is an equally large stockroom and 2 disused offices where records are kept and emergency roof access stairs.

Next also put in a bid for Monument Mall, Simon Wolfson, the CEO came up and led the meeting and things were looking good until Monument themselves pulled out saying they didn't just want one retailer.

Next were offered a couple of sites in the new development but none satisfied their size requirements for the new 'mini department store' setup they want to achieve.
 

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Northumberland Import
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1,580 Posts
Why did Zara pull out of Newcastle in the first place, was it sacrificed for the MC store?

They had prime Northumberland St real estate.

Re - Co-Op buildings. Next did a feasibility study on it and ruled it out on cost.Though the inital package also involved the relocation of the supermarket I don't know if any current deal would. They also looked at Pilgrim St fire station but HO in Leicester had no faith in the Pilgrim St regeneration project despite local management wanting to go for it.

Hard Rock would be good, ideal material for the Gate!
 

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Northumberland Import
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1,580 Posts
I wonder why no effort was made to attract Zara back into Newcastle when ESS opened.

Seems like poor management choices by those at Zara on the initial launch.

Is the old Newcastle Club shop (currently in the process of closing down) in MM an option for Zara to test the waters again?

If there was a different climate I'd like to see Capital go for the Co-Op development, speculate on it and convert some units. An extension of China town perhaps?
 

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Northumberland Import
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1,580 Posts
Why didn't Next take the old COOP store?

It's interesting to read that they were practically begging for a larger store in Newcastle, losing out to Primark, and getting turned away by MM, who probably just ignored the letter containing the offer. Then they hold out for a few more years, and get a spot in ES, all the time the old COOP store has been sitting 99.9% empty.

Also, I was in BHS today and it's to nice to hear from the staff that they are being kept on for the new store and will just work in other stores in the mean time, I.E. the MC.

The reason Next were cautious is at the time of the study on the Co-Op there was no definite ESS extension and they were worried about moving to an area of town that was at the time, a bit lifeless and scheduled to be hampered with roadworks if anything did happen.

The loss of footfall was a concern and the cost was astronomical in terms of fitting the store out to the needs of the company

The Pilgrim St project was the favourite of all of them until ESS came up as local management really favoured it, as I say HO had the foresight to dismiss. Other options were to break up the store (a policy with the company at the time which was ended when the new department store project came up) in this case Mens and Womens would have stayed at the main site and Childrens and Home would have moved to standalone stores on NS

Next really wanted MM. Simon Wolfson came up, Jane Shields the Retail Director and the Head of Finance all came up for the meeting. Next would have had all of the building aside the basement where TK Maxx are situated, the food court would have been redeveloped and the floors 'filled' where they currently have balconies to create 3 full floors.

MM were apparantly concerned Next would jump ship if a better opportunity came along and nothing Next could do convinced them to allow Next to anchor

It was Capital who approached Next for Eldon Square and they initally rejected it, there's some bad blood over the handling of the Next redevelopment in the MC in which the two clashed over 'promised' units being cleared (Millies and the Ke y cutters and Chinese Herbal) to allow Next to fully redevelop which didn't happen of course.

Next then went back and made an offer of what sq ft they wanted and thats when the leisure centre option came up to increase the sq foot option and eventually next took it. But your right, it's been no small secret that Next have been wanting out of their current site for ages, the lease was being reviewed on a 6month basis such was the desite.
 

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Northumberland Import
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1,580 Posts
Lazy journalism from the Trinity Mirror group?

Shuuuurely not?!

*cough*

I'd assent revenge on them, post something utterly mad like Macy's opening a franchise in the old Co-Op building and see if they bite
 

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Northumberland Import
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1,580 Posts
It's a perfect site for a Travelodge or a Holiday Inn style accomodation.

Wonder if Jury's considered it before they built up by the arena (and now down in Gateshead)
 

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Northumberland Import
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1,580 Posts
Next doesn't want to expand Lipsy too heavily as they want to keep it exclusive.

However, the Eldon Square site will have the Next Sport and Next Perfume/Beauty departments
 

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Northumberland Import
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1,580 Posts
Lipsy don't have much of a shop portfolio, it lists Fenwicks as its Newcastle branch, though its just signed a distribution deal with BANK that has a Northumberland St store

The MC branch came about because the rent was astoundingly cheap as Next had a long term lease from its failed 'Lime' concept store, then it became Childrenswear before the refit of main store and then it left next with a a prime Red Mall space all paid up and ready and they'd just bought Lipsy so it became convenient to put Lipsy in
 

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Northumberland Import
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1,580 Posts
Doesn't seem to different from what was there when TopMan operated out of the groundfloor (onto Blackett Street anyway)

I'm still wary of next meeting the April opening, knowing what our store fit team are like. Welcome addition to that end of Newcastle though Northumberland St is going to becoming increasingly downmarket and off the trail for a lot of shoppers.

I can't think of a single shop I'd want on that street
 

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Northumberland Import
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1,580 Posts
Re - Lipsy.

I've had a colleague look at the plans on the intranet and it appears that the Next in Newcastle is getting a Lipsy built into it, it was initially planned to be a concession but will now operate seperately in a similar way to next sport and perfume
 

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Northumberland Import
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1,580 Posts
Must be a goldmine that place, everytime I drive past there's countless students packing it out....might struggle in the Summer mind!
 

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Northumberland Import
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1,580 Posts
I hadn't realised that Bimbi's in Eldon Square had closed down?

Perfect size unit for another poundworld?!
 

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Northumberland Import
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1,580 Posts
UGO looks similarly branded to a cheap continental supermarket, naff would be my way to describe it, it sounds like a city car

The Question raised by the MP brought nothing new in terms of the Birtley supermarket, we knew it would stay open until a prospective buyer came in.

What was far more interesting is that the larger ex-Sommerfield store has had bids from 2 potential clients which the Minister seemed to think was promising
 

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Northumberland Import
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1,580 Posts
Noticed that Lipsy are opening a store as part of the Next refit. Looks like it will sit alongside All Saints (based on the signage on the hoardings in the mall!)
Head Office, interestingly enough, were dead set against a Lipsy in Newcastle and initially relented only to a concession store before it becoming a stand-a-lone operation thanks to the campaigning of the store manager and the Area Manager

The memo I saw suggested they wanted a new concession in Fenwicks ahead of a stand-a-lone
 

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Northumberland Import
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1,580 Posts
Noticed 3 fire engines in attendance at the Tiso Outdoor Store on Grainger Street this evening.

Staff all seemed to be outside and a number of hoses were going into the store, seemingly to the lower level
 

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Northumberland Import
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1,580 Posts
I think it's a bit harsh to have a go at that end of Grainger Street, its got some decent independent stores as well as some niche stuff like Forbidden Planet, Travelling Man (comics, sci fi stuff) Kaffecinos (which always seems to be giving coffee away) and Big and Tall as well as guitar guitar
 

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Northumberland Import
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1,580 Posts
It's not set in stone as they simply don't know at the moment.

The original opening date was going to be June but work has progressed a lot faster than first thought
 

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Northumberland Import
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1,580 Posts
Shame about Collectables, thought there was something fishy about that 'Winter Clearance Sale' (or lets take all the good stuff out of the NCL store)

The Canopy - useful for staying dry in the monsoon season!
 

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Northumberland Import
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1,580 Posts
Am I the only one who hates the way that Collectables store is situated.

There's something I don't like about having to go down to get into it.

The loss of the restaurant will be a blow to our rinsed hair brigade

Am I right in thinking Ohlson started as mail order? Glad they've gone for a City Centre ahead of a retail park
 
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