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A NORTH East shopping centre has celebrated one of its most successful years to date after attracting a host of leading new retailers.

The Bridges in Sunderland has welcomed a number of new stores over the past 12 months including Footasylum, KIKO, Smiggle, and Holland & Barrett.

And it has just enjoyed a busy festive season, with shoppers taking advantage of extended opening hours and free parking incentives.

Thousands of shoppers hit the malls during December to visit the ever-expanding selection of retailers, following a bumper year of investment for the centre.

The Works, a leading books, toys and stationery retailer opened in April and a month later, Yours Clothing returned to a larger unit following a trial period in 2015.

In June, health food chain Holland & Barrett opened in Walworth Way West, moving into the Bridges after many years in nearby Blandford Street.

Streetwear and sportswear retailer Footasylum arrived in September, choosing the centre for its 47th UK store and was followed by North East bakers Milligans, which opened an outlet at Market Square.

A busy October saw the arrival of Australian stationary company Smiggle, followed a week later by internationally-renowned cosmetics company KIKO. At the same time, former star of BBC’s The Apprentice, Katie Bulmer-Cooke, chose the centre as the location for a pop-up fitness shop which opened for ten weeks.

“We’ve had an incredible year for new retailers coming into the Bridges and it’s been fantastic to welcome such a variety of different brands,” said Andy Bradley, Centre Director.

“As well as the big, major high street names we have also attracted more local brands, and this has all added up to a much better experience for our shoppers.

“People know that they no longer have to travel out of town to enjoy the best brands, and thanks to our late night shopping every Thursday, they have had even more choice in when they can visit.

“I’m very proud that so many high profile retailers and brands are choosing the Bridges and this is testament to the investment in the city as a whole. The Bridges continues to go from strength to strength and we are all looking forward to another successful year in 2017.”

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