Leeds shops reopening: Shopping centres excited to welcome customers back - with these changes
Shopping centres in Leeds have expressed their excitement at welcoming back shoppers as they prepare to reopen on Monday, April 12.
It follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson's confirmation that non-essential retailers could reopen in line with the Government's road map out of lockdown.
Adam Warner, centre manager for the Corn Exchange, said he is feeling optimistic and excited to reopen.
Mr Warner said: "We just can't wait to get back to it - it feels like forever.
"All our tenants and vendors are really excited to safely welcome people back to the city centre.
"Everyone has had their eyes on following the guidelines and doing the right thing, selling online and doing click and collect.
"Obviously the last 12 months have been challenging but I think it's important we look to the future with some optimism.
"Over lockdown people have been keen to support independent traders and are really interested in the stories behind the brands and products.
"People are definitely more interested in supporting local but it is a partnership because without the high street stores the city centre wouldn't be the thriving, exciting place it is.
"We're all going to work together to make sure Leeds is the vibrant and exciting place to be."
Trinity Leeds and White Rose Shopping Centres have announced additional measures in place to help keep guests safe when they reopen on Monday.
Safety measures include hand sanitiser points located throughout the centres, a one-way system, limited number of people allowed into the centre and a queuing system for entry to the centres if capacity is reached, to help maintain social distancing.
All centre staff will wear a face covering.
Nikki Appleton, commercial campaigns executive at White Rose Shopping Centre, said: "We are really looking forward to opening the doors and to getting a sense of normality back for everybody.
"I think both our brand partners and the team are excited to get the centre buzzing again.
"Staff have been back in preparing and rearranging stock with all the spring and summer clothing, and I think everyone is just looking forward to getting back to work."
She added: "We're pretty experienced now at lock downs and and reopenings, and we have been open throughout for essential stores like Sainsbury's.
"We've got plenty in place to support everybody coming back, and staff are on hand to help anyone feeling nervous or apprehensive about coming back out.
"We've also recommending quieter times during the week for people looking for a slightly quieter shop, though we do expect the first couple of weeks to be very busy.
"Some stores will also be open for longer, to try spread everybody's shopping out so people get the best experience.
"Some stores and restaurants have been open for takeaway, and its been great to see them come back to life, but we are hungry for more.
"We aren't anything without our stores and our guests."
David Maddison, centre director at Trinity Leeds, said: “The entire team here at Trinity Leeds is looking forward to welcoming our brand partners and guests back. The health and safety of everyone who visits our centre is our number one priority, as it has been throughout this crisis and we continue to follow the Government’s guidelines.
“Our teams are incredibly experienced in keeping the centres safe and clean. A huge thank you to our team for all their hard work in preparing for this moment, they are now very well practiced in managing the re-opening of non-essential retail.”
Steven Foster, general manager at White Rose Shopping Centre, added: “We’d like to remind everyone that it’s a legal requirement for all guests coming into the centre to wear a face covering. And one-way systems, signs and floor stickers are there to keep everyone safe.
“We’ll again be managing the capacity of the centre closely, and at busier times you may be asked to queue outside. Please visit our website and social channels for the most up to date information before setting off.
“We’re very much looking forward to opening our doors again and welcoming people back for a safe and enjoyable experience at White Rose Shopping Centre.”
Victoria Leeds will also be reopening shops, outdoor terrace restaurants and restaurants for takeaway on April 12.
There will also be a new Carvela store opening on the same day, as well as an Oak Boutique pop-up and North Home, a design-led home and interiors pop-up from the owners of Fettle restaurant, opening until late June.
Harvey Nichols Fourth Floor Brasserie, Issho and East 59th are offering outdoor dining.
There will be a one-way system in place.
Jo Coburn, General Manager at Victoria Leeds, said: “It is great to be able to welcome customers back and I know our brands are looking forward to re-opening their doors next week. Safety remains a priority and the measures we put in place last year will continue, including mandatory face coverings, hand sanitiser stations and enhanced cleaning.
“We'd like to say thanks to everyone for supporting us.
"To all those who have kept essential stores and our food takeaway services open, along with the Victoria Leeds team and of course our customers.
"It’s great to see the arrival of some exciting new brands to the mix and we hope that next month, following the government roadmap, our restaurants and leisure facilities will be able to re-open fully too.”
The Merrion Centre, in the Leeds Arena Quarter, plans to reopen non-essential retail on April 12 and has announced 10 new brands will be joining the roster.
The brands range from hair and beauty businesses, to sports shops and restaurants.
New beauty salon, Teisha’s Hair & Beauty and Barber AA are joining the extensive list of specialist grooming operators at the Merrion Centre and will be taking advance bookings as customers look to guarantee their post lockdown makeover,
The Leeds Rhinos store, which opened last year but closed to trade during lockdown, will be reopening with the addition of a new ‘store in store’ concept exclusively retailing the new England rugby kit.
Other shops include Durham Beds Furniture Centre, the Phone Surgery, the Co-op and Leeds Hospitals Charity shop.
New restaurants include Oba’s Korean and Japanese Kitchen & Bar and Mi’s Vermicelli, which will offer traditional noodles and Chinese snacks;
It will be joined by Salade, a new concept offering fresh, tasty salads.
The restaurants will be open for takeaway, as indoor hospitality is not due to reopen until May 17, under the Government's roadmap.
The new stores will join existing independent operators, including Jumbo Records, popular fish and chip shop Hook & Line, the unique Chilli Shop and Japanese Sushi and Grill operator Blue Sakura, were also quick to adapt their businesses by offering innovative takeaway and delivery schemes.
The Centre’s owners, Town Centre Securities PLC (TCS), said it has invested heavily in implementing Covid-secure measures to ensure shopper confidence and safety.
Charles Newman, Associate Director at TCS, said: “It will be fantastic to see consumers returning to physical shopping at the Centre from as early as April 12th as we follow the Government’s route map to reopening non-essential shops and exit lockdown.
“We look forward to welcoming customers back and introducing them to our new brands and are optimistic that people will be excited to return and feel safe to shop, eat, drink and socialise with us.”