Shopping bosses have welcomed the opening of four new stores in Hemel Hempstead and more are set to follow.
The Marlowes Shopping Centre has attracted Blue Inc – one of the UK’s leading high street fashion brands – which has taken up a long term lease.
And independent retailer Dolly, which stocks gifts and ladieswear, has opened on a short-term basis with hopes of extending the lease if all goes well.
Centre manager Vince Williams said: “Since she has opened she has traded well. We are hopeful that she will stay on.”
It is hoped that two pop-up stores will also pull in trade. The Magical Christmas shop will be open until Christmas eve, while The Present People will remain in the town until the middle of January.
The centre currently has eight empty units, but of those six are still held by previous retailers, including Waterstones, which closed its prominent store earlier this year.
Mr Williams said: “We can’t touch the windows, we can’t do anything, we can’t dress them up so it’s very, very frustrating.
“Waterstones is our largest empty unit so that has quite an impact and looks awful.”
Also taking up residence in the shopping centre before the end of the year will be Metro Bank, with shop fitters currently preparing the unit.
A health and beauty store is expected to open early in January.
He said visitor numbers to the centre are slightly down on last year but shoppers are spending the same amount.
Mr Williams said: “People are being a bit careful with what they are buying. They tend to buy good stuff and don’t mind spending the money rather than buying cheaper items.”