Victoria Square has achieved £2 billion in sales across all of its retailers and leisure operators since the landmark shopping centre opened in Belfast 10 years ago, it was revealed today.
Opened on March 6, 2008, the centre is marking the tenth anniversary with a number of events and activities to celebrate and to highlight its significant contribution to the economy of Belfast and Northern Ireland.
The centre, which remains the largest retail-led commercial development in the province to date, employs almost 2,500 staff - 116 of whom have worked at Victoria Square since day one.
In that time it has contributed around £7.5m in rates every year since opening, a total of more than £75m which has gone into the city and wider economy.
With over 800,000sq ft of retail space, the development extended the amount of retail space in the city centre by almost one third in 2008 and heralded a new dawn for retail, according to centre manager Michelle Greeves who opened House of Fraser as manager at the time.
“Retail is a major employer for Belfast and Northern Ireland, with around 15 per cent of the workforce employed in the retail sector.
“We are proud that Victoria Square has become the linchpin of the city’s retail proposition, a significant employer and a major contributor to the economy through rates and our wider supply chain,” she said.
“What shoppers want today, both in terms of new brands and customer experience, wasn’t available in Belfast before the centre was built in 2008. But the quality of Victoria Square has enabled us to attract new brands to Belfast for the first time, such as House of Fraser, Apple, Hollister, Michael Kors, TM Lewin, Mango, FatFace, Boux Avenue, Pretty Green, Cruise, Hugo Boss, All Saints, Five Guys and Zizzi.”
Centre owner Commerz Real said it was delighted to report its achievement.
“The significant investment Commerz Real has put into the destination and a well-executed, long-term leasing strategy has made it the city’s dominant retail and leisure destination,” said Katharina von Schacky, divisional head of real estate markets shopping.
“Commerz Real continues to use its resources and industry knowledge to ensure that this position is maintained and we look forward to Victoria Square continuing to outperform in the region.”
Mrs Greeves added: “Customer experience is at the heart of everything we do because we want shoppers to keep coming back to Victoria Square. The reason for our 10th birthday celebrations is that we want to give our customers a chance to share their memories of the centre and to learn what they would like to see in future,” she said.