SHOPPING bosses are ‘working hard’ to fill empty units that have appeared in The Eastgate shopping centre.
The former Gadget Planet store, at the entrance by Tesco Express, has closed its doors.
The big unit sits diagonally opposite Passion 4 Perfume, another shop which has closed its doors for the last time.
The centre has also been unable to keep hold of two pop-up stalls that had proved popular over the Christmas period.
A spokeswoman for the centre said: “The Eastgate are currently in negotiations with retailers to fill the units, but can’t report anything as yet, and are working hard to fill them after what was a very busy Christmas period.”
Centre manager Jason Robinson added: “The centre is continuing to grow from strength to strength, and this past Christmas period was one of our most successful of recent years.
“Our void unit rate is well below the national average, currently standing at 11 per cent when compared to the national average of 14 per cent; which is no mean feat in a difficult retail time.
“This fell to an impressive four per cent over the Christmas period with the introduction of pop-up units.
“Whilst footfall on the whole was down by 1.6 per cent last year, this was lower than the regional average fall of 4.3 per cent, giving testament to Gloucester’s strong retail scene.
“With continuing redevelopment in the centre and contract talks with both new and existing retailers going well, we are confident that 2014 will be a positive year for the centre.”
Mr Robinson admitted before Christmas that the new year is always challenging for retailers. At the time, he said: “The start of the year is always difficult for retailers.”
Shopper Yvonne Marsden, 46, from Abbeydale, said: “I must admit I never stepped foot into the gadget shop. My husband probably liked it but I’m not sure it’s what people want in the city centre.
“I’m hoping we will get a bigger brand. If they have got TK Maxx coming, maybe it will attract another of the big names.”
It comes at the same time as King’s Walk shopping centre losing shoe retailer Schuh after less than a year of trading. It too lost a pop up shop that had opened before Christmas.
Despite a volatile retail sector, unemployment in the city continues to fall.
MP Richard Graham, who has made employment a key campaign, said the answer lies in an improved outlook in the city’s manufacturing industry.
He said: “This has helped reduce youth unemployment last year by half, but there is further to go, and apprenticeships are key to that.”