Record-breaking year for shopping centre during 50th milestone

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A LEEDS shopping centre is celebrating after welcoming a record-breaking number of visitors.

The Merrion Centre had 11.2 million visitors in 2014 – the highest on record since it opened 50 years ago.

The impressive figure is a five per cent increase year on year for the city centre site.

As part of a £50million refurbishment, the centre recently invested £9million on its car park and £13million on its Arena Leisure Quarter, opposite the First Direct Arena.

New occupants include LAB bar, the Proper Sandwich Company, Costa, MFA bowl, Pure Gym and Korean barbecue restaurant Bulgogi Grill.

During a busy concert season for the arena, the restaurant’s sales went up by a huge 60 per cent between December 2 and 12.

Edward Ziff, chairman and chief executive of Town Centre Securities, which owns the Merrion Centre, said: “It fills us with pride to see so many people taking advantage of our fantastic retail and ever growing leisure offering.

“We’ve had over half a million more visitors in 2014, compared to 2013.

“Helped by the regeneration of the area and the impact of Leeds’ First Direct Arena, the Arena Quarter on a whole is prospering and the Merrion Centre has experienced an increase in capital value over the last year.

“We strive to offer choice and variety and will continue to extend our offering.”

The centre is now 97.5 per cent let. My Thai, which invested £50,000 in a restaurant at the centre in November last year, has also seen success after reaching its six month sales target in just four weeks.

Mr Ziff added: “We are extremely proud of what we have achieved. We have more developments in the pipeline for 2015.”