Page last updated at 06:20 GMT, Friday, 30 April 2010 07:20 UK

Carmarthen's 74m retail centre opens

The new St Catherine's Walk Centre in Carmarthen

A £74m retail complex built on a former town centre cattle market has opened its doors.

Following eight years of rows, protests and delays Carmarthen's St Catherine's Walk welcomed its first shoppers.

It includes a Debenham's department store, Apollo Cinema, and a range of other shops and restaurants opening in west Wales for the first time.

Centre managers hope it will make the town the region's main shopping destination.

They say it will lift Carmarthen seven places in the retail ranking of shopping centres, complied by marketing property specialists CACI, to the sixth best destination in Wales.

Centre manager Mike Pugh
The whole town will benefit from St Catherine's Walk
Mike Pugh, centre manager

Plans to develop the former cattle market site were first announced by Carmarthenshire council in 2002 with developers Simons appointed a year later.

But the project was hit by delays first due to opposition to the relocation of the nearby indoor market and then to plans to close St Catherine's Street.

Organisers of Friday's official opening are putting any controversy behind them with a three day programme of events and family activities to mark the occasion.


Centre manager Mike Pugh said: "It will make Carmarthen a destination town for retail and entertainment. The whole town will benefit from St Catherine's Walk."

He said he expected it would attract visitors from the neighbouring counties of Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion and reverse the drift of shoppers east to centres like Llanelli and Swansea.

St Catherine's Walk
A six sceen cinema forms part of the development
The centre opens in two phases on the two May bank holiday weekends.
Phase one on Friday includes Debenham's, the Apollo cinema, Next, Quiksilver, Cotswold Outdoor Clothing, Vision Express, Carphone Warehouse, Costa Coffee, Pizza Express and Frankie & Benny's.
Phase two opens on 31 May.
Stores include River Island, New Look, TopShop, Top Man and Miss Selfridge.
Source: Carmarthenshire council

Mr Pugh said they were delighted that some of the names were opening in west Wales for the first time - particularly given the economic climate of the recent years.

"Retailers don't open stores without a lot of research," he added.

He said it was a demonstration of confidence that they had in the prospects for the centre.

Trading seven days a week the 245,000 sq ft centre also includes and a 950 capacity purpose built car park.

'Exciting times'

It has a total of 25 units with a number still available.

It is being managed by Invista Real Estate Investment Management.

Carmarthenshire council chief executive Mark James said: "Carmarthen is on the verge of exciting times and we would like to involve everyone in celebrating its future.

"This exciting development will add to the town's shopping experience and will, undoubtedly, bring many more shoppers and visitors into the area, helping to boost local businesses and the economy."

Print Sponsor

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Protest over shop plans for mart
12 Feb 03 |  Wales

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