A RECORD-BREAKING number of shoppers made a trip to Sunderland over Christmas as the town's shopping centre remains well placed in the current retail environment.
December was a busy month for The Bridges with the shopping centre welcoming 1.6 million people through its doors.
The weekend before Christmas proved to be a record-breaker with more than 150,000 shoppers paying a visit.
Last year saw the launch of a £15m Primark store, which brought 242 jobs to the centre.
The budget fashion brand, with 37,000 sq ft of retail space, stretches over two storeys and has created a new entrance on High Street West.
The past 12 months has also seen a new Krispy Kreme coffee bar and a store for popular clothing label Superdry open.
It has also expanded its retail space for Topshop, Internacionale and the Body Shop, creating more than 160 jobs.
Gerald Jennings, portfolio director responsible for The Bridges, said: “We are making strong progress across the portfolio as we continue to manage our spaces effectively. We remain well placed in the current environment and are committed to delivering our plans for each asset.
“In 2012 we worked hard to ensure we had the best retail mix of leading high-street stores such as Debenhams, JD Sport, Topshop, Disney, Lush, Next and Build-a-Bear all under one roof, as well as improving the centre’s catering offer with the opening of Caffe Nero and Krispy Kreme.
“We will continue to work closely with retailers to strengthen the diversity of stores and expand stores where the retailers are outperforming the space.
“Last year we saw two of our leading fashion brands in the centre double their floor space after growing customer demand for the latest trends.
“By investing and securing lettings from leading high street brands we have been able to create a true heart to retail in Sunderland and provide shoppers with a great retail experience.”
Land Securities, owner of The Bridges, has said it is making good progress with further development lettings and a strong operational performance across the portfolio.
In London, it has over 50% of 20 Fenchurch Street, EC3, either pre-let or in solicitors’ hands with the latest addition, Royal Sun Alliance, securing four floors.