Princesshay is the name for a new commercial retail development in Exeter. The Princesshay was a 1950s pedestrianised parade of shops, the first pedestrian shopping centre in the country, running from Bedford Street to Eastgate House, roughly parallel with the High Street. It was used synonymously as the name for the entire post-war development on the South Side of the High Street between Paris Street and the Cathedral precinct, lying north of Southernhay. In its own right it replaced the pre-war area known as Bedford Circus (which included the Bedford Arcade) that was levelled by the City Council following damage in the Blitz. The post-war buildings have now been replaced with a more modern shopping centre, opened in September 2007. It has been the subject of considerable discussion with strong views for and against; inevitable because of its proximity to the Cathedral Close and Southernhay and the design which resisted the late twentieth century drive towards bland malls and the integration of mixed housing into the Exeter retail zone.

Princesshay has some popular high street stores such as New Look, Carphone Warehouse, Topshop/Topman, River Island and Zara. It also has rarer stores such as an Apple Store, Hobbs, Rose Opticians, Oasis, CULT and a Reiss Store. It also has a large Debenhams and a Fat Face's flagship store which is spread over 3 floors (Europe's biggest Fat Face store). Princesshay is also a popular dining destination with a selection of restaurants and cafes, including Carluccios, Cafe Rouge, Costa Coffee, Exshed, Nandos, Segafredo, Strada, and Wagamama. More recently opened stores include the Disney Store, hmv, GAME, and Chatham Marine. This leaves only two empty units. More lettings are believed to be announced soon. The financial crisis has affected Princesshay with closures of local stores Stem florist and Parchment. In May 2010 Faith Shoes went into administration closing its store in Princesshay, it has since reopened as Quicksilver. Wayne Pearce(managing director) said he was in talks with a new retailer to rent the unit. He also said that he was in talks with a retailer to take up the Disney Store unit which announced it was to close in mid July

Attempted bombing
On 22 May 2008, the shopping centre was temporarily evacuated after an explosive was detonated in one of the restaurants injuring only the perpetrator. On 15 October 2008 Nicky Reiley admitted the attempted explosion.

Building Activity

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