Page last updated at 11:48 GMT, Thursday, 25 September 2008 12:48 UK

New 500m shopping centre opens

Hire wire performer at Cabot Circus
High wire performers entertained the crowds before the opening ceremony

Thousands of people packed Bristol's new 500m Cabot Circus shopping centre for its official opening ceremony.

Drummers, dancers and high-wire performers entertained the crowds, until a circus master announced the opening of the stores at noon.

Construction manager Ray Brown admitted that not all of the 140 stores were ready on time.

"We've got about 100 shops, but I think that's sufficient for people to feel that it's very much open," he said.

Department store Harvey Nichols was opened the previous day by burlesque artist Dita Von Teese, who performed a striptease on a jewelled full-size carousel horse to an audience of about 100 VIPs.

Marketing director Julia Bowe said she was confident people would spend money despite the economic slump.

"The effects of the credit crunch are yet to be felt, it will affect all levels of society and of the high street but Harvey Nichols are in this for the long-term and we are very good at adapting to changing retail conditions," she said.

The Cabot Circus development includes 140 shops, 25 restaurants, 250 apartments, offices, student housing, a cinema and a hotel across 36 acres.

The newly-expanded Portway park-and-ride site at Shirehampton opened on Tuesday with the aim of absorbing some of the expected increase in traffic.

Thursday's official opening marks the completion of a project which has been 10 years in the planning and building.

City's 500m retail emporium unveiled
24 Sep 08 |  Bristol/Somerset
Jobs on show for Cabot Circus
06 Jun 08 |  Bristol/Somerset
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05 Jul 07 |  Bristol/Somerset

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