Page 25 - MarketTimesAugust2016
P. 25

hington Market g in the punters
 Washington Market Village in Tyne and Wear is in line for new investment after the operator Geraud signed a new 25-year lease with its landlords at The Galleries Shopping Centre. But, as Nicola Gould discovers, this popular market doesn’t need too much tweaking. It has that magic ingredient — location, location, location
Washington Market Village notched up its 25th anniversary this year and there was plenty to celebrate.
Whilst some markets located in large shopping centres have felt the pinch, Washington has done well and the main reason is its location.
The Galleries Shopping Centre was opened by a 23-year-old, newly-married Princess Anne in July 1974.
For this solidly working class corner of the North East, it was their very own ultra modern shopping centre offering a very different experience to the corner shops and jaded stores they knew so well.
Built on industry, and mining in particular, Washington grew dramatically after it was made a New Town in 1964, with new “villages” taking the overspill from nearby cities.
The Galleries was an instant hit, and the opening of the Nissan car factory in 1986 proved a milestone in the fortunes of local people who now had good employment prospects and money in their pockets.
When Presto’s moved out, In Shops jumped at the opportunity to open an indoor market in half the space the supermarket had occupied, and the new venture took off.
Geraud Markets (UK) took over In Shops 12 years ago and closed some of the outlets that weren’t doing well.
But Washington was a flagship performer then, as it is now.
And the main reason is fairly simple, as manager Karen Carr explains.
“The Galleries has literally everything in it,” she said. “There are banks, post offices, shops, supermarkets. There is now just one post office left in one of the local villages, so this is where
everyone comes to shop.”
The Galleries saw a massive expansion in
2008 with the building of a multi-million pound retail park. It now has more than 200 shops in four malls, with 3,000 free car parking spaces outside and bus stops where buses drop off and pick up passengers right outside the mall entrances every few minutes.
There was a major facelift in 2010 and the second phase of improvements followed a couple of years later. Further investment is on the cards.
So the market, which was rebranded Washington Market Village two years ago, has been in the right place at the right time.
Craig Taylor, Geraud Area Manager, said: “This market works really well. The footfall is tremendous. We have a really good relationship with our landlords. We have just signed a new 25-year lease and the centre manager regularly
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