House full signs up at the Quadrant

Christmas has come early to Swansea’s busy Quadrant Shopping Centre which is leading the retail recovery in the city by putting up the ‘house full’ signs as its last empty unit was filled at the weekend.

Planet Christmas, a local business specialising in all things Christmassy, moved in last week and now all 37 units at the centre are taken.

The new arrival has been warmly welcomed by Ian Kirkpatrick, Manager of the Quadrant Centre, who said: “We have been hopeful that the final piece of our retail jigsaw would fall into place and it’s great to have Planet Christmas here.

“It follows the recent arrival of Grape Tree, Blue Inc, Fragrance Shop and Menkind  who have all arrived in the past two months and mean that we are full once more.

“Quite apart from the boost that is to us it has also meant a boost to the area with over 30 new jobs created which has to be good news for everyone.”

For Planet Christmas it’s a first venture into a city centre location and Samantha Deakin, of Planet Christmas, said it was the Quadrant’s high footfall and occupancy that persuaded them to move in.

The new Swansea store is open to customers in the Quadrant Centre until Christmas Eve and Samantha, 28, who has run the Christmas shop operation on behalf of her father-in-law, Porthcawl businessman Dean Deakin, for the past seven years, says she is delighted to have taken over the very last vacant unit at the Quadrant for the glittery new shop.

She explained: “Ours is very much a family business. During the summer we operate holiday parks in south Wales and, for the past 10 years, in the winter we’ve been running Christmas shops in the same region.

“The first shop we had was in Festival Park, Ebbw Vale, and we went on to open another in the Bridgend Designer Outlet.

“We try to locate the shops in out-of-town shopping centres where the footfall tends to be greater than in high streets. But with the Quadrant we thought we’d try a shopping centre in the town centre because the careful research we do shows how busy it is.

“I’ve looked into it and found that the centre is really bucking the national trend and us moving in for Christmas means that none of its 37 units are now empty, which compares very favourably to Swansea as a whole which has more than 25 per cent of its shops empty and also the figures of 17 per cent for the whole of Wales and almost 11 per cent for the UK.

“I think it’s lovely we’re taking the last empty unit at the Quadrant and we’re really looking forward to making it part of our success story.”

Samantha, who used to help manage the family holiday parks before taking over the Christmas operation, added: “The shops always have a real Christmassy feel to them and, a bit like Santa, I work all year round to make sure they look warm and welcoming to customers and have all the right stock.

“The one in the Quadrant is no exception and I’ve tried to give it a real Christmas grotto feel. There are seasonal wreaths to welcome customers and inside we have warm red skirting around the shelves.

“It’s a real one-stop shop stocking in one place everything people need to have a great Christmas.

“This means we have items from fibre optic trees to kitchenware and that includes Christmas stockings, hats and fancy dress, ribbons, wreaths and garlands as well as tablecloths, tea-towels and even trainsets.

“I’m very hands-on and work in our Christmas shops myself, so I know what customers want to buy and I make sure we have it. In fact, I personally pick and choose every item we stock.

“One of the lines we have are baby’s first Christmas decorations which aren’t always easy to find.

“We pride ourselves on have something for all the family. In our other Christmas shops we’ve had quite a few new couples coming in to buy everything they need for their first Christmas together and I’m expecting the same to happen in the Quadrant.

“We’ll initially have two or three staff running the shop and put in one or two more when things become really busy as Christmas gets closer.”

Samantha, who lives in Porthcawl with her husband Edward, said that if this year’s shop proved to be the success she predicts she would seriously consider returning to the Quadrant Centre ahead of next year’s festive season.

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