Phones 4u to open in former Panasonic unit at Willow Brook Centre

Proposed new Phones4U store at the Willow Brook Centre (montage).

Bradley Stoke’s Willow Brook shopping centre has announced three new tenants that will be opening this autumn.

Phones 4u, one of the UK’s largest independent mobile phone retailers on both the high street and online, is to open in the 2,107 sq ft mall unit previously occupied by Panasonic, while two office units are being taken by Aspirations Financial Advice Ltd and Kumon Educational.

The opening of Phones 4u will bring the centre’s retail occupancy back up to 100 per cent around six months after the Panasonic store ceased trading in mysterious circumstances. Back in February, the consumer electronics store closed for a weekend of “stock-taking and refurbishment” but failed to re-open the following Monday, leaving centre management “in the dark” about what was going on.

The new office lettings mean that just one office unit will remain unoccupied within the centre.

Aspirations, a firm of independent financial advisors, and Kumon, the UK’s largest supplementary education provider, are both taking 714 sq ft units. Kumon already has its regional head office at the centre and its new unit is home to the Kumon Bradley Stoke study centre, which previously operated out of Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre.

Centre Manager Scott Lahive said:

“It is our experience that demand for retail space is very strong here in Bradley Stoke, with the seamless re-letting of this unit recently being an example. We’re also delighted that the office space is nearing 100% occupancy. The Willow Brook Centre continues to enhance the range of services we offer our tenants, including the acclaimed waste management programme, and we’re proud to be enjoying such success in otherwise difficult economic times.”

Related link: Willow Brook Centre – What’s Open, What’s Not

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  1. Three mobile phone shops under one roof now, plus Tesco’s! Great.

    The other option could have been another hairdressers to add to the two already there…

    Come on Willow Brook Centre – if the demand for retail space is as strong as you say, let’s have a bit of variety!

  2. I agree with Katie…why another phone shop? :/ Despite phones 4u being generally slightly cheaper than o2, surely there cannot be that much trade in Bradley Stoke? Although i have noticed that if you go into one shop and tell them you can get a better offer with their rivals, you often get a better deal! 🙂 But still, would of hoped for something more inspiring?!

  3. Katie in fairness I think the Willowbrook Centre has a very varied selection of shops – including Boots, restaurants, an estate agency, opticians, dental surgery and an our local MP’s constituency office and drop in advice centre – That’s more than just Tesco and hairdressers.

  4. Binky, in fairness, I think your are in the minority with your view if you read the other comments and the facebook comments.

    When you have an area containing only approx. 10 shops (I’m taking about inside near Tesco’s before you point out there are more than 10), there’s no need for so much duplication.

  5. The shopping mall at bradley stoke is useful but I too think its missing the artisan touch and things like a high end quality grocers, delicatesant, bakers (not great competition to Tesco, and if it is, thats no bad thing!), perhaps an M&S clothing outlet, or another higher end clothing retailer. Bradley Stoke isnt a poor demographic, so how about raising the stakes a bit?

    ps. It calls itself Bradley stoke town centre, but lets face it – we all know its really Tescoville with add ons!

  6. It would have been good if one of the larger outlets, had been used as a two story Market with a wide variety of very small fixed stores and stalls.

    The problem with the main part of the shopping centre is Tesco’s provides just about everything so unless you are selling something very unique or with a high level of service you haven’t got a chance.

  7. It is a shame, unfortunately it isn’t about what would be good for the community, it’s all about who is willing to pay the rent on an empty unit.

    The Willow Brook Centre operators only care about capacity and not what is actually filling the units.

  8. We need a more centralised Post Office outlet or a proper bank rather than an agency. Or a half decent clothing store like mentioned before.

  9. A lot of negative comments from readers about this week’s news that another mobile phone shop is to open at the Willow brook Centre. But what would YOU rather see opening there? The Journal will be running a reader poll very soon. Please help us define the poll options, e.g. post office, bank, clothing store, sportswear store OR specific brands such as Next, M&S, Body Shop etc. Leave your suggestions as a comment here (or on this post on the BSJ Facebook page where scores of readers have already commented).

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