THE manager of a Wrexham shopping centre says major brand departures offers an opportunity to bring others to the town.

Shops in Eagles Meadow including Greggs, Starbucks and Arcadia outlets including Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins all currently have signs in their window informing customers of imminent closures.

Eagles Meadow centre manager Kevin Critchley spoke of his disappointment at the stores leaving, but remained upbeat about the shopping centre's future.

He said: "Eagles Meadow is approaching 10 years of operations, it's pumped about £1.5 billion into the local economy and employs around 500 people, so we've been very successful.

The Leader:

Greggs is due to close its doors at Eagles Meadow on September 8

"Yes we're very disappointed that the shops are leaving, but it's not for lack of trying.

"We've had discussions with Arcadia for some time and until recently we thought they would be staying.

"But Arcadia have started to move their brands into concession-based stores in supermarkets and things like that.

"It's just the decision Arcadia has made. We were very aware this was going to happen.

"Across the UK a lot of Arcadia stores are moving out of shopping centres.

"I think it's part of retail now. If these shops were making big profits then they might have stayed, but not if they're just covering the costs.

"Increasingly rent is not the biggest cost, with things like business rates and running costs all eating into the brick and mortar cake.

"Eagles Meadow is a business. We've known about shops leaving in the past. But there is an advantage to stores going as it means we can now approach other retailers to come to Wrexham.

The Leader:

Kevin Critchley, manager of Eagles Meadow

"Losing units is an opportunity to change the profile of Eagles Meadow. We already have a couple of units under offer, including a large space user."

Mr Critchley added: "People forget that Eagles Meadow was ahead of the game.

"Lots of town centres are now trying to change and bring in more leisure spaces, with cinemas, bowling alleys, restaurants and that sort of thing but we opened with those things 10 years ago.

"The retail world is different every day - the only constant is that it changes.

"Every town centre has been affected by the departure of well known names.

"Wrexham especially has been clobbered by things happening nationally.

"But what this means is that we've now got spaces for new retailers to take over. We're not sitting here thinking everything is bad, of course we're not.

"This just gives a new opportunity to try something different.

"People say it's a very challenging environment, but it's like that in every town centre, not just Wrexham. It's been like this for years so it's nothing new."