Troubled Red Lion Quarter ‘can still be success’

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THE TROUBLED Red Lion Quarter needs to “regroup and relaunch” to be turned into a success, according to a retail expert.

Our sister title the Lincolnshire Free Press revealed on Tuesday that the landmark £6.5million centre’s manager Richard Baggaley has left and a consultation process is under way to look at how to cut costs.

Retail expert and consultant Phil Scarlett, who lives in Spalding, said that the centre’s food court needs to focus on how to bring more people in and deals should be done to try to attract shops into the ground floor shop units – which remain empty.

He said: “The food court is an expensive shop fit and it shows that. To me it wants to be much more about selling local things – that’s a signage issue.

“They also need to look at what’s going to bring people in the shop and they have to do something that’s different, that’s Lincolnshire and that gives the locals a reason to go there because they do it better than anybody else.

“It’s about getting back to some basics and in about a month or two months’ time they’ve got to get their act together and relaunch to have any chance.

“I’m not sure it has been terribly well thought out and planned but I believe it is worth trying to turn around.”

Mr Scarlett, who has helped retail firms to relaunch, said that shops could be offered cut-price rent deals or as with some shopping centres, pay a percentage of their turnover as rent.

That way both the retailer and the Red Lion Quarter would have an incentive to boost footfall.

The centre will soon be boosted by the arrival of students to the South Lincolnshire College, which will operate on the middle floor. Mr Scarlett says that will help boost the atmosphere.