Inside the new jewel in Leeds’ shopping crown

John Lewis store manager James Prince
John Lewis store manager James Prince
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The opening of another multi-million pound retail development in Leeds city centre is set to put the city among Europe’s major shopping destinations.

There are just three weeks to go until the £165m Victoria Gate development opens its doors with British and international brands, plus 120 Yorkshire products across the five floor flagship John Lewis – the first branch to open in the city.

Inside the new John Lewis store, Leeds. Picture by Simon Hulme

Inside the new John Lewis store, Leeds. Picture by Simon Hulme

The opening of Victoria Gate comes just three years after the launch of the Trinity Centre which boasts 120 shops, cocktail bars and restaurants.

Hammerson, the developer behind Victoria Gate, has radically changed a part of Leeds that had, over the years become run down and neglected and the centre reflects the fast pace upon which retail and development is progressing within the city following what some industry experts dubbed “a slowing down” after the introduction of Harvey Nichols in the late 1990s.

A spokesperson for Leeds Chamber of Commerce told The Yorkshire Post: “The last three years has seen Leeds rise back up the retail rankings, with the opening of Trinity Leeds credited as a major catalyst.

“Since 2013, Leeds has been a magnet for new brands, who see commercial opportunities, the vibrancy and the confidence which the city centre now presents. The opening of John Lewis reinforces this message very powerfully.

“In talking up Leeds we must not forget about the great independent shops in the Corn Exchange, Kirkgate Market and other parts of the city centre.

“There is a lot of work going on promoting the city to both leisure and business tourists, we must build on this, especially as we lead up to the 2023 European Capital of Culture which I am hoping Leeds is successful in securing.

“Putting Leeds on the map for European visitors could be hugely beneficial for the city’s economy.”

James Prince, the new John Lewis manager, added: “It is a flagship store and Leeds was on the list of destinations that we as a business needed to be.”