Pandora puts faith in Newport

Danish jewellery retailer Pandora, one of the fastest growing jewellery brands in the world, has opened a new store in Commercial Street, Newport, demonstrating a vote of confidence in the city’s future by South Wales retailer and franchisee, Stephen Hughes. Eight new members of staff have been recruited from Newport, including a new manager and assistant manager, and over £350,000 has been invested in the store which opened on 14 June 2014. It is Stephen Hughes’ third Pandora venture in South Wales, following the success of his outlets in Swansea and Carmarthen.

Huw Thomas of Cooke & Arkwright acted for the private landlord in the deal and Stephen Kane & Co acted for Pandora. “This is a real boost for the city centre retail offering and comes at a time when a number of positive transformations are under way in Newport.” said Mr Thomas. “The property is well located on the pedestrianised Commercial Street and near to Llanarth St which will be one of the major thoroughfares into the new Friars Walk retail led development, scheduled to open in Autumn 2015.”

Mr Hughes, who founded his first store, Stephen Hughes Fine Diamonds in Swansea in 1996, said it made perfect sense to select Newport for his third Pandora franchise, although he doesn’t deny that Newport faces challenging conditions. “Newport has a large population, it’s the third largest city in Wales and we believe it is one of the up and coming regions,” he said. “There are Pandora brands in locations across the UK which are experiencing similar challenges, and which are doing very well. We have great confidence in the brand and we are getting into Newport at this time because we think the future of the city will be prosperous and we see great potential for growth. We have also been delighted with the quality of the staff we have been able to recruit locally, and the team was trained in our other stores and in the Pandora headquarters in London.”

Regeneration of Newport is gaining momentum. When completed, Friars Walk will bring leading brands to the city including Debenhams, Next, Top Shop, Nandos, Cosmo, Frankie & Bennys’, Chiquito, Prezzo and Cineworld. Key city centre properties are being converted into new homes and space for business start-ups, and Scarborough Development Group is nearing completion of a seven storey office block which will be occupied by Admiral Insurance. Cooke & Arkwright is jointly marketing the investment sale of the 81,000 sq ft Grade A office building, known as Admiral House, which offers a highly attractive investment opportunity and is stimulating interest from national fund managers. A 4,000 delegate Convention Centre is being planned at The Celtic Manor Resort on the outskirts of the city and in September, the resort will play host to the 2014 NATO summit, which will be visited by 60 world leaders, 7,500 delegates and 5,000 journalists.

Mr Hughes says this all makes it an exciting time to do business in the city. “If we can play our part in revitalising the city centre then we are very glad to do that,” he said.

Pandora designs and manufactures hand-finished and distinctive modern jewellery made from genuine materials at affordable prices. In 2000 it pioneered a new charm bracelet concept that has become hugely popular and inspired women to personalise their jewellery. It adds new collections several times annually, the most recent being Alphabet and Symbols, as well as the Spring Collections. In 2013, Pandora’s total revenue was approximately €1.2b.