MORE than 3,000 people are expected to arrive in the region today as the retail giants of the North-East prepare for its first ever shopping festival.
This week, NewcastleGateshead is to host a massive trading event, The British Council of Shopping Centres conference, thought to be the largest ever commercial conference to hit the region having beaten off stiff competition from many other cities in the country.
The event comes ahead of a fortnight-long shopping festival to take place in the region in May next year, courtesy of the NewcastleGateshead Initiative.
A spokesman for the organisation Alex Kinsey said: “NewcastleGateshead’s sheer variety and quality of shops rivals anywhere else in the country and the shopping festival aims to encompass all that we love about shopping, celebrate the unique quality and variety of places to shop, and put the spotlight on the fantastic retailers who create a thriving retail market in and around NewcastleGateshead.
“It is also an opportunity to show that the region has more to shopping than just high street fashion. The range of restaurants, bars, museums and art galleries offer a different kind of experience if purchasing this season’s must-have item isn’t your thing.
“So it’s also easy to see why NewcastleGateshead was chosen as the venue for the annual BCSC conference.”
Event organisers were attracted to the region after an outstanding bid from the NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau working in partnership with The Sage Gateshead, Gateshead Council, the regional development agency One NorthEast and TyneWear Partnership.
Mr Kinsey went on: “Over the years NewcastleGateshead has been at the cutting edge of retail development. First there was the development of Eldon Square, which at the time of completion in 1976 was one of the largest city centre shopping malls around.”
He said Newcastle was the home of the first ever department store and the MetroCentre has regained its title of the Europe’s largest shopping centre thanks to the construction of the new Red Mall.
“These developments certainly put us on the map and hosting the BCSC conference in the region is a fitting celebration of the retail success we have experienced.”
The Shopping Festival will take place from May 24 until June 8. To find out more contact the NewcastleGateshead Initiative by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t miss our Retail Review shopping supplement in The Journal today.