Town centre investment could open doors for further business interest in Cheltenham
TURNING Cheltenham into a retail hub to be proud of will encourage more investment in the town.
That's according to trading experts who have welcomed a surge in business interest in the town centre.
Shoppers will soon be able to browse the new H&M store in the Regent Arcade, which is undergoing a £20 million redevelopment.
Keith Willoughby, operations manager for Regent Arcade, believes the town can prosper with large investment.
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He said: "We have seen an increase in footfall year-on-year and a three per cent increase from last year.
"There has been a lot of investment in the town and it is becoming more attractive and vibrant.
"I think any investment is good for the town and it shows that more retailers from outside of Cheltenham are seeing opportunities here."
And customers have been spoilt lately following the opening of the new River Island store and the new Yo!Sushi restaurant.
Student Rebecca Campbell, 17, said: "I think that the development of Regent Arcade will improve the physical attraction of the town centre. The opening of H&M will be great too, creating more jobs within Cheltenham."
Hazell Lewis, 28, added: "I think the town has improved, especially the Beechwood Arcade. Now that they've moved HMV to the front, I think it makes it look a lot better."
Matt Bull, of 13 Degrees, is planning to open a new vodka bar in Regent Street and plans are in the pipeline for a Patisserie Valerie and Papa John's.
In addition, H&M will offer about 50 full and part-time jobs when it opens its doors on September 19.
Carlos Duarte, UK manager for H&M, said location is everything when deciding to open a business and that Cheltenham was the ideal place.
He said: "We have been looking at Cheltenham for some time waiting for the right opportunity to arise and are delighted to be adding the town to our portfolio of store locations.
"Cheltenham is one of the biggest towns in the UK where we do not have a store so it has been on our target lists for a number of years. There are a number of factors that determine where we open new stores. One of the most important is the location.
"The best business location is so important that we would rather hold off from opening a new store and wait until the right location becomes available.
"The availability of attractive business locations such as the Regent Arcade is the major deciding factor in our rate of expansion."