Woodley town centre is proving a microcosm of what is happening in the retail world nationally, according to Reading agent Hicks Baker.

Retail director Fiona Brownfoot has been involved in six deals at the town’s Crockhamwell Road centre, some of them still ongoing, where corporate retail giants have given way to smaller operators.

In recent months:

  • La’De Kitchen, a family-owned Mediterranean restaurant has taken the former Prezzo unit
  • Small greetings card chain House of Cards has taken the former Clarks shoe shop
  • A new independent gift shop has taken the former New Look unit
  • Berkshire Glazing and a small milkshake bar have each taken a share of the former Santander unit
  • The former HSBC unit has gone under offer to an independent food operator
  • The former Lloyds pharmacy has gone under offer to a children’s play and café operator

The town, to the east of Reading, falls largely within the Wokingham borough.

Ms Brownfoot said: “I wrote, some years ago, ‘give it five years and we will have much more interesting high streets’. Woodley is a perfect example of what has happened.

“It’s corporates out, indies in. Places like Woodley have benefitted from what’s gone on because people have shopped more locally.

“Rents have dropped slightly but this represents a microcosm of what has happened in the world of retail. People now favour open spaces everywhere and Woodley has that as well as very good surface car parking.”

Image: Google.

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