Business is good in Guildford

SURREY – After wrapping up the second holiday season following a grand re-opening in 2013, Guildford Town Centre is looking to expand its store offerings, with 20 more planned for the coming year and beyond.

According to Peggy Howard, general manager of the shopping centre, while the mall is already receiving constant praise from shoppers and tenants alike following its three-year renovation, there are still a few more tweaks to be made in the coming months.

“We want to open up some of the parts that were closed off,” she explained, noting that previous thoroughfares are currently blocked off while they negotiate new tenants for those sites.

Howard said they were looking to bring in stores that would appeal to something of a younger demographic. Those stores are expected to begin opening in 2015 through to 2016, she said.

As for the most recent holiday season, Howard said early results show that the mall is continuing to draw shoppers in higher and higher numbers.

“We had about 12 million shoppers a year before construction. At the peak of construction we went as low as nine million shoppers and we are now back up to around 14 million shoppers per year,” she explained.

The month of December is also prime time for the shopping centre, with around 16 per cent of the mall’s annual sales coming from that one month alone.

“The early months are sometimes around seven or eight per cent and November does about 11 per cent,” she said. “Early results show that our anchors like The Bay and Walmart did phenomenal numbers this year.”

At Guildford’s Pandora store, manager Jennifer Takata said December was “crazy” for them and noted that this past holiday season was busier than the previous.

“This was our second Christmas here and it’s just been wonderful,” said Takata, who chalked up the store’s popularity to the broad customer base and clientele.

Like most stores, Takata said business picked up starting at the end of November on Black Friday and scaled up right until Christmas.

At David’s Tea, employee Deeanna Rickard said they were also packed with shoppers throughout the holiday season and noted they had lineups outside the store.

“It was chaotic,” she said with a laugh.

“We had a hard time keeping some stuff in stock.”

Howard said she hopes a recently introduced shopper reward program will also encourage people to visit the mall more regularly, and noted next year is the shopping centre’s 50th anniversary.

“We’ve been here for a while and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t get someone saying that the mall is gorgeous, they love the living wall and all the new facilities,” she said.

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