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Tenants mark a new chapter

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New tenants have come forward to take over the former Waterstone's bookshop in Leicester's Market Street.

The three-floor store closed its doors on June 1, and at the time retail experts warned it could be a difficult space to rent out again.

However, a women's fashion company and another unnamed shop want to rent parts of the building, which has been spit into three units.

City centre director Sarah Harrison said the overall situation in Leicester, where about one in eight shops stand empty, was about to improve.

She said: "There are several empty units in the city centre but 22 of them are about to be let.

"They include Waterstone's in Market Street, the former Millets store in Granby Street and the former Poundstretcher nearby which is being taken over by Leicester City Council.

"The fact that Waterstone's has been let is extremely positive news.

"Pret A Manger opening is a very good sign for Leicester and there are generally a lot of positive noises.

"I think the discovery of Richard III and the city being short-listed for the City of Culture 2017 have also really helped."

Dominic Gomersall, who owns Lumbers jewellers in Market Street, welcomed the news that new tenants were headed for the former Waterstone's store.

He said: "I'd like to think Market Street still has a place for Leicester shoppers."

A Leicester Mercury survey of the busiest 15 streets and shopping centres in the city found about one in eight shops were empty, which is unchanged from when we did a similar survey two years ago.

Humberstone Gate and Gallowtree Gate were the best performers, having hardly any empty units, with Belgrave Gate, Carts Lane and Loseby Lane all having fewer than one in 10 of their units empty.

High Street currently has more than one in six units empty and other streets bringing the average down are Granby Street, with more than one in six empty, and Church Gate and St Martin's Square, both of which have more than one in four units empty.

Both the city's shopping centres are doing about average. Highcross has just over one in eight empty with Haymarket about one in nine.

Martin Traynor, chief executive of Leicestershire Chamber of Commerce, said: "Leicester is still a vibrant city centre and its mix of retail and leisure will ensure that it succeeds."

Tenants mark a new chapter


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