• Sun. Apr 14th, 2024

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub


ByDave Stopher

Feb 7, 2024
Bridges, Sunderland - new Christmas Grotto and lights displays

ADDING to the retail experience has helped create a bumper year at Sunderland’s the Bridges.

Special events, strengthening of key partnerships and major refurbishments have all helped enhance visits to the centre for shoppers.

And the hope is now to build on the success of 2023 still further in the year ahead.

The Bridges welcomed new shop retailer, Pavers, in June and has also seen other big names invest in the centre.

Clothing giant, New Look, moved from outside into the Bridges itself, with two units amalgamated into one large unit to accommodate the store, which was the result of a £1m investment.

Both HMV and Clinton Cards moved and created new, modern layouts while H Samuel and The Perfume Shop also underwent refurbishments.

The Bridges also helped improve the visitor experience in a whole host of ways, from upgrading the baby changing facilities to introducing sensory bags which could be hired to support young people with additional needs.

Special events at key dates in the calendar also helped attract people into the centre, such as the dinosaur trail and the ever-popular annual Reindeer Dash.

The annual Student Raid once again saw thousands of students of all ages visiting the centre for a night of shopping and entertainment, to introduce them to the city’s retail scene.

The Bridges has also invested in its own VR experience which is adapted for particular times of year and has been particular popular at both Halloween and Christmas.

“Shoppers now want more experiences when they visit a centre and that’s what we have created at the Bridges,” said Karen Eve, Centre Director.

“The VR ride – which we first introduced at Halloween – has been incredibly well received and we are able to adapt it to suit various times of the year.

“We’ve also invested in a brand new Christmas grotto and festive decorations this year, which we believe has also enhanced the shopping experience.”

The Bridges has continued to work closely with other key stakeholders across the city, to help ensure that Sunderland has its rightful place as a major player in the region.

“We have a strong relationship with Sunderland BID and support all of their activities,” said Karen.

“We are delighted that they were successfully re-elected for a third term and we look forward to continuing to work together in the years ahead.”