This autumn has proven to be a success for Birmingham’s historic Great Western Arcade as it re-affirms itself as the home of unique retail in the city. Even amid a host of high profile developments, the arcade continues to flourish with a surge in footfall, as well as new retailers Peter Forson, Liquor Store Womenswear and The Ginger Tree.

Over the past 12 months, GWA has established itself as Birmingham’s hub of independent retail, transforming into one of the city’s must-see shopping destinations. Last month’s footfall figures demonstrate that shoppers remain loyal to the distinctive independent retail scene, with the Arcade continuing to stand strong against high-profile developments like Grand Central and The Mailbox. With over 365,000 visitors, a 12% increase for the same period last year.

The stunning Grade-II listed arcade is already known for its unique mix of retailers, housing some of the city’s best independents. With the likes of Liquor Store, Projekt21 and Anderson & Hill, GWA has seen an influx of brands rush to open up shop. Earlier this week, the arcade announced the arrival of London-based luxury accessories retailer, Peter Forson. Having successfully grown its online presence over a number of years, the brand has chosen to relocate to Birmingham to embark on their first venture into the world of face-to-face retail. September also saw Liquor Store expand into womenswear, with a second store opposite its existing menswear speakeasy. This comes in addition to ladies’ fashion brand, The Ginger Tree, which opened its fifth venture; adding to Solihull, Sutton Coldfield, and Birmingham Indoor Market.

In addition to the new tenant contracts, GWA has been home to The Big Hoot Owltlet Shop throughout the summer, as well as ‘Bluey’ the owl, which raised £10,000 at last week’s auction. The store created a new opportunity to showcase GWA and expose the distinctive independents retailers to the wider community.

James Roberts, Centre Manager at GWA, comments:

“Our latest footfall figures show that we really have reaffirmed our position as the home of unique retail. With Peter Forson, The Ginger Tree and Liquor Store Womenswear joining us, we continue to show our buoyancy in the retail market, which comes at the perfect time as the city welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors to Grand Central and, from this week, the new Mailbox development. Whilst we know we’re not competing with the high street and designer brands, GWA still remains at the top of its game for independent and unique food, fashion and gifting, and our retailers are telling us that it’s working, looking at the footfall and sales figures.

“I am delighted that we have been able to create an environment for existing retailers to grow as well as making room for new exciting tenants. Our primary objective is to continue offering shoppers, workers and residents the best Birmingham brands, creating a climate for smaller retailers to thrive in this fast-paced competitive marketplace. Along with the team, I am keen to bring opportunities like The Big Hoot and Style Birmingham Live goody bags to our arcade, to drive awareness and footfall. We’re a hidden gem that’s making a real statement in the city.”

Grade II-listed Great Western Arcade sits in the heart of Birmingham city centre, between Colmore Row and Temple Row. With over 35 stores occupying 150,000 sq ft retail space, it welcomes weekly footfall of 73,000. The arcade not only benefits from shopping trade, but is also on the doorstep of 35,000 employees in the Colmore BID area. Covering 21,457 sq ft of office accommodation over six floors, the building is home to Trowers & Hamlins, Skanska Construction and UBS Wealth Management, and recently underwent a five-year refurbishment programme worth £2m.

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