H&M statement as Victoria Center market sale rumors circulate

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A Swedish clothing brand has commented on talk of the future of the central Victoria market as its current shape is the subject of “considerable doubt”.

On January 20, Nottinghamshire Live revealed that Nottingham City Council and the mall’s asset managers, Global Mutual, were engaged in discussions about the future of the historic market.

Traders blasted the uncertainty surrounding the sell-off rumors that began circulating ahead of Christmas.

Victoria Center Market, or Victoria Market, opened after the center was completed in 1971 and has been woven into the fabric of the city’s history ever since.

During the coronavirus pandemic, however, the city council said it had to stop grant payments, which were being paid due to market operating losses, due to its ongoing financial difficulties.

Nelson Blackley, an independent retail analyst for the city, explained what a potential sale could mean.

He said: “It is no surprise that Nottingham City Council and Victoria Center asset managers Global Mutual have entered into discussions about the future of the Victoria Center Market.

“The future of the market in its current form is in serious doubt as Nottingham City Council, with its well-known debt levels, is no longer able to provide rent subsidies to market tenants.

“A sustainable and viable future plan for the indoor market must be quickly agreed, including its scale and location, and which meets the needs of all stakeholders.

“Many responses to the City Council’s public consultation at the end of 2020 on the future of the Broad Marsh site referred to local independent retailers and the hope that more independent retailers could be encouraged to thrive in and around Nottingham.

“The traders in Victoria’s Central Market are all small independent retailers and you could say they are carrying on a tradition that has existed since Nottingham’s first recorded city center market in the mid-12th century. That would be another blow. for Nottingham’s retail offering if this was now lost.”

The market area has over 200 units, but only 33 are currently in use by 31 traders.

Mr Blackley says traders ‘complained of unsustainable rents, lack of investment, low footfall and empty units for several years’ and the covered market had always relied heavily on the 24 million of esteemed buyers who, before Covid, were drawn to the center every year.

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He added: “The fortunes of the market have therefore always mirrored that of the shopping center which, despite a £42million refurbishment in 2015, has struggled like so many others over the past decade with store closures in due to online shopping, high rents and business rates.

“The repeated forced closure of non-essential retailers over the past two years and the continued reluctance of many shoppers to use crowded public transport, together with the impact of millions of commuters working from home, have had a disproportionate impact on the footfall in many towns and cities, and their malls.”

The town hall has a remaining lease of 50 years on the market.

Rumors suggested Swedish clothing brand Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) was potentially involved in the talks.

It is understood that this may not be correct, but the company responded to a request for comment.

An H&M spokesperson said: ‘We have no announcements to make at this time.

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