Melton shopping centre starts opening on Sundays

The entrance to the Bell Centre in Nottingham Street, Melton, which is opening on Sundays EMN-150626-165000001

The entrance to the Bell Centre in Nottingham Street, Melton, which is opening on Sundays EMN-150626-165000001

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Traders in a Melton town centre shopping mall are now opening on a Sunday in a bid to increase their weekly takings.

The Bell Centre, off Nottingham Street, opened for the first time last Sunday although only four businesses traded that day - the Time Out cafe, Mar Pets, Savers and Clintons.

More have pledged to open this weekend, including The Stork and Voodoo Consoles, after good footfall was reported by some who took part the first week.

Andrew and Ashwell, the agents for the centre, said it would open to shoppers over the summer as an experiment between 10am and 4pm and, if successful, it could be a permanent move.

The company’s Tom Meynell said: “The traders want to drum up interest because a number of units are empty.

“Historically, the Bell Centre has closed on a Sunday but some of the traders have said ‘let’s open and see how it pans out’.”

Mr Meynell said he was hopeful of filling some of the empty units - five out of the 20 are currently vacant - following a significant increase in inquiries to rent them.

He said he was seeking longer term tenants rather than short-term pop-up traders.

Mr Meynell added: “We all have our fingers crossed that the Sunday opening will continue indefinitely.

“We have seen an increase in inquiries for our vacant units, including the larger ones.

“It has been a tough time for retail but there are good signs out there now.”

Mark Robinson, owner of established Bell Centre pet shop Mar Pets, was one of those traders who pushed for the mall to open on Sundays.

He said: “We have wanted to do this for a long time and a lot of people came through the centre on Sunday.

“As traders we have got to try to make more money and hopefully more will open in here on Sundays .

“It would also help if some of the empty units were taken up, even if it was by pop-up traders.”

Gaming retail store Voodoo Consoles plan to open on Sunday from 11am to 3pm in an attempt to increase their business, according to owner John Webster.

His assistant, Paula Whitehead, said: “A lot of people go to the car boot sale in Melton on a Sunday and then wander into town so hopefully a few will come through here.

“Now the Bell Centre is open on a Sunday, people can also now park in the car park at the back and walk through the centre to get into town.”

One new business in the centre - electronic cigarette retailer Juice-E-Vaporium, which has been there just six weeks - said it was considering Sunday opening.

Manager Marcus Gray said: “We don’t have the staff to open on Sundays at present. But it seems like a good idea and if it is successful for the other traders it is something we would consider.”

A spokesperson for the Salvation Army charity shop said it would never open on Sundays because of the religious ethos of the organisation.