Yankee Candle and Gandys are latest to leave Royal Victoria Place

    Two more shops have left Royal Victoria Place [RVP] with brands declaring a preference to trade in other towns.

    Gandys and Yankee Candle are the latest to leave the shopping mall where around one quarter of units are now vacant.

    Uncertainty continues to surround RVP, with H&M last week announcing plans to close their kids wear store while there are no longer any shops in the Ely Court sub-arcade.

    The Food Court now only has four eateries open. There used to be at least eight.

    The centre’s management has declined to answer any questions about a reported £100million sale from Hermes Real Estate to major property developer British Land.

    Questions also remain unanswered about latest developments towards their £70million redevelopment, which would see a multiplex cinema and more shops.

    A spokesperson from ethical fashion brand Gandys told the Times they have opened a new store in Richmond after disappointing footfall in Tunbridge Wells forced them to close on January 7.


    “We opened in Tunbridge Wells [in autumn 2016] as our online sales excelled in Kent but the store was not performing to our expectations,” she said.

    “We believe this to be due to the town needing an actual shopping centre that will draw consumers in.

    “Locals seemed to use food shopping amenities but not the Calverley Road shopping area. We saw this as a shame due to being really excited about reaching out to our customers that shop with us the most.”

    Building on their online brand Gandys, which commits 10 per cent of its profits to building orphanages, has opened four stores in London where Tunbridge Wells their two full-time staff have been offered roles.

    Yankee Candle has closes today [Wednesday, January 17] after a six month lease to operate a pop-up shop came to an end.

    Nick Cooper, shop manager, said: “It is a company decision, everyone was employed by an agency on a short term contract.

    “Our closure in the shopping centre is a great loss but there are plans in place to return in 2018 for Christmas.”

    Mr Cooper was unable to say if the same shop-front would be used again. Yankee Candle employed three full-time and nine part-time staff.

    Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, who own the freehold of RVP, commented to say they were not concerned about the situation.

    A spokesman said: “The Council is confident about the long term economic viability of Tunbridge Wells and that of RVP shopping centre.

    “The number of closures, while planned, are an unfortunate temporary impact as part of the preparatory work to enable the redevelopment and refurbishment of the shopping centre.”