Portishead bucks trend as new stores open
Portishead is continuing to buck the recession trend with a number of major retailers opening stores in the town.
While other towns are reporting a downturn in trade and seeing a number of business close, Portishead continues to thrive, with a number of leading retailers setting up in the growing town.
Fashion giant Peacocks opened a new store in a former warehouse unit at Old Mill Road yesterday, with bosses reporting 'higher than expected' sales on the first day.
Hundreds of customers packed into the store throughout the day to take advantage of the opening offers.
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The store employs 22 staff and two managers, bringing a welcome jobs boost to the local economy.
Store manager Helen Tomlinson, 23, said: "Our first day has gone really well and sales are 50 per cent better than we initially expected.
"We were busy all day and the feedback from customers has been very positive.
"I think a Peacocks store is just what Portishead needs."
Customers also gave the new store the thumbs up.
Hairdresser Cheryl Hancock, 27, of Portishead, said: "I think it's great to see a Peacocks open in Portishead.
"I live on The Vale so the new store is really convenient.
"It's also good to see this part of the town being developed and new shops opening."
Grandmother Sue Carol, 63, from Portishead, said: "I think it's going to be a great asset to the town – especially for the young and fashion conscious.
"It's good that Portishead is continuing to attract new businesses such as Peacocks."
A Dreams bed store opened earlier this month in the adjacent unit and a New Look store is opening later this month.
Retail giant Pets At Home is also due to open a store at the same development.
There are only a couple of empty shop units in the town centre, compared to several lying vacant in the district's other main towns, Clevedon and Nailsea.
Over the past year a number of new businesses have sprung up in Portishead, including Duo Fashion Store, Costa Coffee and Watkins and Tasker vets in the High Street.
Furniture giant Arthur Llewellyn Jenkins has also submitted plans to build a 7,400 sq m (80,000 sq ft), two-storey warehouse on a 1.43 hectare site at Gordano Gate, off Wyndham Way.
A number of new bars and restaurants, including Jacks Brasserie and Me Me Chocolat, have also opened at the marina and The Lock House Lounge has opened at the open-air pool.
Portishead is becoming one of the fastest developing towns in the UK, growing at a rate of 40 per cent, with a massive regeneration of the docks and old power station into a mix of family homes, apartments and offices.
The development at Port Marine has increased the number of people moving to the town and the current population of around 22,000 is expected to grow to 30,000 by 2012.
Portishead Town Council chairman David Pasley said: "The town has grown so much that these new facilities such as the shops and bars are needed.
"The business people who are coming to Portishead are go-getting, entrepreneurial people who have seen an opportunity and have gone for it.
"I am delighted to see so many new businesses opening up which is helping Portishead to fast become a boom town."