River Island and H&M Regent Arcade flagship stores to open
TWO of the country's biggest clothing chains open their doors in Cheltenham in July after a big shopping centre revamp.
Previously, Regent Arcade had only been able to confirm the two flagship stores being built at its entrance would be opening in the summer.
But now, as work this year is set to begin on The Brewery, Regent Arcade has announced that both H&M and River Island are expected to open their doors in July.
John Forward, centre manager for Regent Arcade, said the construction work should finish at the end of April.
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The stores will then take eight to 12 weeks to redecorate and stock before opening. "It is just building works going on at the moment," he added. "We should finish the work by the end of April, and then it is down to the stores to prepare its opening.
"They will be given an empty store, so it will take some time as they prepare it for shoppers.
"Without doubt, it will be a massive change for us and a positive step for Cheltenham."
He confirmed River Island would continue to trade in its old premises inside the arcade until the new store was open.
The new site is expected to be three times larger than River Island's current premises.
The management team at Regent Arcade is also currently speaking to bidders and possible lets for the current River Island site.
Mr Forward said: "H&M and River Island will be able to introduce some nice retail offers for shoppers in the town centre, which is what we are trying to do at the moment.
"It is the only one in Cheltenham, so shoppers will no longer have to go to Gloucester just to shop in H&M. These shops are not just important to Regent Arcade, but the whole of Cheltenham as well."
Shopper Emma Fraser, 28, said: "I'm glad the work is going to finish soon as it will be nice to be able to take down the hoardings.
"Whenever I go to Gloucester I always call into H&M to see what they have and it would be nice to have them in Cheltenham."
Martin Quantock, Cheltenham town centre manager, said: "Success breeds success. With these two stores opening, other retailers will see how much confidence people have in investing in Cheltenham.
"I think the more shops we have opening will attract others as well.
"It's good for shoppers, obviously, but also great for the town.
"It means the outlets can stock more brands, and there will be more choice, but it also means they are willing to invest in Cheltenham, which is brilliant."
The £20 million refurbishment began in March 2012.
The Brewery development includes new shops, 34 flats, a 104-bed hotel and extending the pedestrian area.
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