Shoppers swarm centre

By ED SOUTHORN

CURIOUS sticky beaks, bargain hunters, Christmas present buyers, some wanting to enjoy the airconditioning and others simply after a loaf of bread or a cup of coffee.

They were among more than 25,000 people who turned out on the opening day of the first stage of Tweed City shopping centre's $70 million extensions, including a new underground car park.

The huge crowd, including hundreds who gathered outside the centre's new entrance off Kirkwood Road before the 9am opening, was more than twice the number who normally shop at Tweed City on a Monday.

The new Coles supermarket was doing a roaring trade. Over at Woolies, the crowds were thinner and it was easy to spot the Coles staff doing price checks.

Both supermarkets had extremely well-stocked shelves.

Clearly, Tweed City shoppers can look forward to robust competition between market leader Woolies and Coles which is aiming to increase sales in the Tweed and across Australia after the Wesfarmers takeover.

Some Tweed City retailers had special promotions running and extra staff were on duty to cope with the big crowds. But it will take a little time before everyone remembers to use the extra 450 underground car parking spaces, accessible off Kirkwood Road.

By mid-morning, the old outdoor ground level car park was almost totally full, as usual.

But in the cool, spacious new underground car park, there were ample empty spaces.

Senior executives from the Tweed City centre owner, DB RREEF, travelled from Sydney for the big day and looked to be very impressed.

Centre manager Paul Swerdlow said the opening was "a fantastic success and we look forward to a very bright Christmas".

DB RREEF asset development manager Michael Tree said he was delighted with the first day's trading.

"Our customers and retailers can now see for themselves how we will be reinventing their centre over the next 12 months," Mr Tree said.

The next stage of the redevelopment, commencing before Christmas, is a refit of the existing complex, with new furnishings and colour schemes and a further 120 car parking spaces.

The expansion has created an extra 20 retail jobs and total floor space has been boosted by about 10,000 square metres to just under 50,000 square metres.



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