Mystery surrounds identity of ‘secret’ new centre retailer

Fareham Shopping Centre
Fareham Shopping Centre
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A NEW store has been selected to fill a prime spot in a shopping centre – but the identity of the retailer remains a mystery.

Fareham Shopping Centre has announced it is set to agree terms with a new store to move into the former British Home Stores (BHS) unit.

BHS closed down its Fareham store last year after the chain went into administration. But now it is expected a new retailer will be in its place in time for the Christmas shopping period.

Fareham Borough Council leader Councillor Sean Woodward, said: ‘I’m delighted that major high street chains, such as Boots, have renewed their long term commitment to Fareham, and also that we will soon be seeing new occupants of the former BHS site – it is great news for shoppers and businesses alike in Fareham.

Cllr Woodward said the new retailer is a ‘well-known brand’ but remained tight-lipped over its identity.

It comes as figures show Fareham town centre as a whole continues to perform well and its vacancy rate is below the national average.

Chris Beckerman, managing director of Roubaix Group, which owns the shopping centre said: ‘Since we acquired the centre two years ago, we have been working hard to ensure that there is a vibrant mix of retailers for our customers, and have made a number of improvements in and around the centre to improve the visitor experience.

‘Fareham is a great town, and we are very pleased to be working closely with the council to bring forward a range of further improvements in the coming months.’

However, Liberal Democrat Cllr Shaun Cunningham has criticised the council for releasing details.

He said: ‘Why can’t we just wait until all the associated information the public want to know can be released, instead of drip feeding information out.

‘Of course I welcome the news that the former BHS store is at last being occupied as to have such a large empty retail space within the centre does not create confidence.’

He added: ‘Whether the store is what the public is looking for, I have no idea, that piece of the jigsaw remains a secret.’

A further announcement about the new store is expected by the end of this month.