Primark expansion and new restaurant announced in Merry Hill improvement plans

More details of a five-year improvement plan for the Merry Hill shopping centre have been revealed.

Merry Hill shopping centre
Merry Hill shopping centre

The revamped Merry Hill brand will be launched on Wednesday with new signs going up around the centre and free family activities and performances planned to last through until the weekend.

Among the five-year plan for the centre in Brierley Hill are:

  • Food pop-ups championing local retailers and suppliers.

  • Better signage aimed at improving the link-up between the shopping centre and the surrounding bars and restaurants at The Waterfront.

  • New 'districts' dedicated to entertainment, fashion or health and wellbeing.

Meanwhile the Primark store has just been expanded and a Smyths Toys superstore is to open at the centre in coming weeks. A major raft of improvements for Merry Hill were announced in July, designed to attract more leisure attractions and restaurants to Merry Hill by 2025.

The expanded Primark

Smyths Toys adds further to the family offer following the arrival of Hamleys in the summer. The dining options at Merry Hill will also be growing with the arrival of a German Donner Kebab restaurant following a recently opened Starbucks drive-thru. Bosses say conversations are also under way with an extensive list of other new occupiers.

New centre signs will be installed across the entrances and unveiled tomorrow with the milestone marked by a free-to-attend programme of family entertainment and activities.

The celebration activities for the new brand continue until Sunday, October 3 and will include music performed by students from the Resonance music institute, which is headquartered at the neighbouring Waterfront, between 10.30am and 1pm tomorrow, carnival dancers performing throughout the afternoon on Wednesday and pop-up acoustic performances throughout the afternoon and evening on Thursday and Friday,;

There will also be a performance by the Got 2 Sing Choir on Saturday at 2pm and street theatre during the day on Saturday.

Members of the centre team will also be welcoming shoppers during the week with surprise free gifts to encourage sustainable shopping.

The performances aim to provide a taste of future plans to bring a diverse programme of arts, culture and entertainment to Merry Hill as part of the centre’s transformation plans that will drawon local talent.

How the leisure district could look

An engagement process is underway with representatives from across arts, cultural and educational groups and organisations throughout the region, which will help inform a long-term strategy for performance at Merry Hill.

At the heart of the five-year investment programme are plans to deliver a significantly enhanced leisure offering at the centre, allowing visitors and shoppers of all ages to enjoy a range of fun, sociable, non-retail activities and attractions. Early concepts for a number of new ‘districts’ throughout the centre are under consideration dedicated to either entertainment, fashion or health and wellbeing. Food-based pop-ups and culinary experiences designed to champion local retailers and food and beverage supplies will ‘further enhance the leisure experience at Merry Hill.’

Plans are also being drawn up to better connect the centre to the nearby Waterfront, which is home to a variety of pubs and restaurants, shops and the music academy.

The next step in the transformation plans will see signage and wayfinding drastically improved throughout the two million sq ft centre and surrounding area, allowing visitors to navigate with greater ease.

Ideas for the health and wellbeing district

Jonathan Poole, centre manager at Merry Hill, said: “We are so excited to finally reveal the new branding for Merry Hill and formally kick off our five-year transformation plan for this destination. Though we will soon have a new look, the iconic Merry Hill name everyone has come to know and love since the centre first opened in 1986 will remain the same.”

“It has been all change at Merry Hill this summer and I would like to extend the warmest of welcomes to the many new retailers who have taken space at the centre in recent months. I would also like to thank the thousands of shoppers who visit Merry Hill each and every day, especially those who took part in our biggest piece of customer research in over a decade as we prepared for the future.

“The response to the improvement programme we announced in July has been extraordinary, and we have been delighted by the subsequent enquiries from potential occupiers, shoppers and the many local organisations we’re talking to on a daily basis.

An entertainment district is part of the plans

“We are very proud of Merry Hill, particularly in terms of how the centre has performed both during and after numerous pandemic-induced lockdowns. We’re bouncing back better; the re-opening and lifting of restrictions earlier this year proved there is still a significant appetite for retail destinations where people can spend time and enjoy themselves, with Merry Hill emerging as one of the strongest-performing shopping centres nationally post-lockdown.

“Merry Hill is already one of the leading shopping destinations in the UK, but by 2025 it will be home to even more flagship concept stores, as well as a revitalised leisure offer, to give people a dynamic, exciting destination for years to come. There is substantial commitment and momentum behind the scenes to make our vision a reality and we look forward to welcoming some of the biggest and best-known brands and experiences to Merry Hill.”

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