A new multi million pound investment in Main Street to create a ‘flagship’ department store saw its official launch last month, showcasing multiple well-known brands.
‘Trends’ saw a furore of activity in its first few hours of opening and has seen a steady stream of shoppers since then with business set to increase as the holidays approach.
A spokesman for the company said that the project will provide a major contribution to the local retail sector, re-energise the Gibraltar shopping experience and boost the Rock’s tourist product.
“As an established retailer for over 20 years, I am confident that Gibraltar can survive any challenge it faces,” said Bhisham Nihchalani, Managing Director of Bharat Ltd and the driving force behind the initiative.
Mr Nihchalani managed to attract some of the biggest players in the fashion industry to supply his store such as Armani, Hugo Boss and Ralph Lauren.
“Tourism is one of the mainstays of the Gibraltar economy and within that the shopping experience is one of the principal attractions for both day visitors as well as longer stay travellers” he said. “This megastore is not only a destination for locals and tourists alike, it also places Gibraltar on the map alongside Marbella, Puerto Banus and other shopping destinations in the region and I am really excited at the opportunities it will bring in terms to economic activity and employment.”
Gemma Vasquez, Chairperson of the Gibraltar Federation of Small Business, praised the ingenuity shown by a local business to complete a project of this stature.
The restoration of the ex-Barclays Bank building in the middle of Main Street will enhance the look of the façade and blend in naturally with the Cityscape.
“The transformation of this notable building – the former Barclays Bank building in Main Street – with a strong commercial tradition in the heart of our city into a shopping icon epitomises the adaptability and resourcefulness for which the local trading community has always been renowned,” she said.
Fabian Picardo, Chief Minister, showed support for a local entrepreneur undergoing such a project despite ‘Brexit’ concerns and was pleased to see such confidence in Gibraltar’s future.
“It will serve as a powerful and visible statement of intent that is sure to boost confidence in this important pillar of the economy,” he said.