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Escape rooms, climbing walls or a cinema... What next for House of Fraser store in Norwich?

PUBLISHED: 13:49 14 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:37 14 November 2018

The House of Fraser store at the Intu Chapelfield shopping centre in Norwich spans three floors. Picture: Neil Didsbury

The House of Fraser store at the Intu Chapelfield shopping centre in Norwich spans three floors. Picture: Neil Didsbury

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House of Fraser’s departure from Chapelfield in Norwich raises questions over how the shopping centre’s flagship store can be replaced.

The unit that the chain will leave behind is one of the largest in the city – and in a climate where retailers are looking at consolidation rather than expansion, replacing like-with-like could prove challenging.

Retail expert Adrian Fennell believes that the centre may need to split the unit into two to make it more attractive to potential suitors.

“I think they will have to go down the line of looking to put more than one store in there: one on the upper ground floor and one on the lower ground,” said Mr Fennell, a partner at property agents Roche Chartered Surveyors in the city.

What would you like to see replace House of Fraser in Norwich? Leave your comments below.

“The market will dictate that the lower ground floor will go to one occupier, and the upper ground floor with the other retail floor above that will go to another occupier. There’s not enough frontage to split it any more.

“Otherwise you would be looking at reconfiguring the whole thing and putting in some sort of leisure aspect.”

That possibility has already been floated by Paul McCarthy, general manager of Intu Chapelfield, when he confirmed that House of Fraser would be closing.

Intu has already reinvented parts of its shopping centres in Watford and Lakeside to enhance the leisure facilities and Mr McCarthy hinted at “new and exciting alternatives” for the space.

Destined for closure. The House of Fraser store at Intu Chapelfield, Norwich. Picture: Neil DidsburyDestined for closure. The House of Fraser store at Intu Chapelfield, Norwich. Picture: Neil Didsbury

“Through these developments we are introducing state of the art cinema, climbing walls, golf, trampolining and the UK’s first indoor Nickelodeon entertainment centre.

“Other leisure options could include, but are not limited to, virtual reality, gyms and escape rooms. We also have some great ideas on the table including other big retail brands and non-traditional shopping centre uses.”

MORE: House of Fraser is to close its Chapelfield store in Norwich

The shifting focus from retail to leisure in the city’s shopping centres – and across the country – has also been seen at Norwich’s Castle Mall, which has opened a new restaurant quarter.

It has also looked at different ways to attract people to the centre and increase footfall, including childcare, giant games and an honesty library, and earlier this year revealed its plans for a £2m leisure development including a tenpin bowling alley and obstacle assault course.

What would you like to see replace House of Fraser in Norwich? Leave your comments below.

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