Barratts arrival 'step in right direction' for Gloucester
SHOPPERS say trade in Gloucester has taken a "step in the right direction" with the return of shoe shop Barratts.
The footwear chain will open a store in Eastgate Street on Saturday.
But down the street, a question mark hangs over the future of Argos after the company announced it would be shutting 75 of its stores over the next five years.
Yesterday, a spokeswoman said it could not confirm if the Gloucester branch would be affected.
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However, Barratts return is a blast from the past as the unit it has taken, to the left of the new Marks and Spencers, is the same one it occupied until three years ago.
Mum-of-three Claire Perkins said: "I'm really pleased to see a shop shutting instead of opening.
"It's taken me back as I remember shopping in the Barratts here as a teenager." The 36-year-old said shoe shopping in Gloucester was a "struggle" and added: "This is definitely a step in the right direction for Gloucester."
Barratts left the city in 2009 after parent company Stylo went into administration.
Carephone Warehouse moved into the unit, but it has now moved to a shop space on the other side of M&S.
Jason Robinson, centre manager at The Eastgate Shopping Centre, said: "We're really pleased to see yet another retailer opening in the centre.
"Since Marks and Spencer opened in the summer, we've certainly seen a surge in interest from other retailers."
On the back of that move, the centre has transformed six smaller units into two larger ones in Bell Walk.
It has now announced that fashion retailer Internacionale will be opening a 'concept store' in one of them.
Mr Robinson said: "It bodes well for the future and obviously means that Internacionale are doing well here in Gloucester."
Caraline Money, Internacionale retail operations director, said: "When the opportunity for a store in the Bell Walk area became available we jumped at the chance."