Mander Centre

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Mander Centre
LocationWolverhampton, England
Opening date6 March 1968, Refurbished: 1987, 2003 & 2016-17
DeveloperManders Holdings Plc
ManagementRichard Scharenguivel (Centre Manager)
OwnerBenson Elliot Capital Management
ArchitectStanley Sellers
No. of stores and services100+
No. of anchor tenants2 (H&M, Matalan)
Total retail floor area620,000 sq ft (57,600 sq m)
No. of floors2 (department store 3 floors)
Parking530 space multi-storey car park

The Mander Centre is a major shopping centre in Wolverhampton City Centre, developed by Manders Holdings Plc, the paint, inks and property conglomerate, between 1968 and 1974. The site occupies four and a half acres comprising the old Georgian works and offices of the Mander family firm, founded in 1773, as well as the site of the former Queens Arcade (promoted privately by Charles Tertius Mander), which had stood on the site since 1902.

When the main part of the Mander Centre opened in 1968, the Central Arcade retained its Edwardian architecture and was refurbished as the main entrance to the Mander Centre from Dudley Street.

In May 1974 the Central Arcade was destroyed by a severe fire that reduced it to rubble, which was declared unsafe and was subsequently demolished. The area was later rebuilt as the entrance to the centre.[1]

Recent history[edit]

1987 to 2016[edit]

The Centre was refurbished in 1987, when it was described as "a covered pedestrianised shopping complex at the centre of the principal shopping area of Wolverhampton" with more than 150 shops.

In 2003 the Centre embarked on a further multi-million pound refurbishment programme. It was an opportunity to complete the enclosure of the Centre to make it fully climate controlled. The marble floor in the entire centre was replaced along with the relocation of the escalators and stairways. The biggest change was the creation of the large New Look store which took over numerous stores.

In 2010 the Mander Centre was acquired by Delancey Estates and Royal Bank of Scotland from Manders Holdings Plc and its successor companies. In the spring of 2014 this led to heated national controversy when they proceeded to remove a landmark bronze sculpture, 'Rock Form (Porthcurno)', by Barbara Hepworth, specially commissioned for the site and donated by the Mander family and shareholders in 1968. Its sudden disappearance led to questions in Parliament in September 2014. Paul Uppal, Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton South West said: "When the Rock Form was donated by the Mander family, it was done so in the belief it would be enjoyed and cherished by the people of Wolverhampton for generations… It belongs to, and should be enjoyed by, the City of Wolverhampton."

In 2011 it was announced by Delancey that they were going to invest £25 million in the Mander Centre, completing a major refurbishment and reconfiguration of the centre and creating a new 90,000 sq ft department store. On 4 December it was announced that the Mander Centre had been acquired by Benson Elliot Capital Management for £59 million, and that the £35 million investment was still going ahead. It was also announced that the new store that is to be created during the refurbishment will be occupied by Debenhams and will be completed by 2017.[2]

On 18 November 2016 H&M opened, it was the first major store to open as part of the shopping centre's multimillion-pound redevelopment. The store is 31,000 square feet in size, and is the first store in the West Midlands to include a homeware department, and is located in the store formerly occupied by Woolworths. [3] [4]

2017 to 2019[edit]

Having previously moved to a temporary store Superdrug opened a brand new store on Tuesday 2 May, the store now occupies the former WH Smith store, it marks the second New store opening since the beginning of the centre's refurbishment.

It was announced in September 2017 that Richard Scharenguivel was appointed as Centre Manager, having previously been Deputy General Manager at the Bull Ring, Birmingham.[5]

On 12 October, Debenhams was officially opened by former Wolverhampton Wanderers player Jody Craddock and local hero Anne Guest, they were joined by Mayor and Mayoress of Wolverhampton. The new store is only the second New store to be opened by Debenhams this year, the other being in Stevenage and is designed by Debenhams chief executive Sergio Bucher, as flagship store as he wants to encourage shoppers to stay longer. The store is also only the second in the UK to feature a new style deli restaurant called Loaf & Bloom, the other store being Milton Keynes.[6] [7]

In July 2018, M J Mapp were appointed by Benson Elliot to take on the daily management of the Mander Centre [8]

During April 2019, Debenhams announced a series of store closures and less than two years after it opened the Mander Centre store, which formed the centerpiece of the Centre’s refurbishment was on the list of closures and will close in January 2020. [9]

In July 2019 it was announced that Starbucks Coffee Shop would close in August 2019, with no explanations from either Mander Centre or Starbucks for the closure. [10]

During October 2019, it was announced that House of Fraser (Beatties), would vacate its current building in Wolverhampton city Centre and take up residence in the former Debenhams store when the store closed in January 2020. The new Fraser's concept store will introduce a number of brands to the Mander Centre, with Sports Direct to take up the lower ground floor, Frasers and USC to take up the ground floor and Flannels (retail) to take up the top floor. Frasers are expected to occupy the building as soon as Debenhams vacate in January 2020. [11]


On the 11th January, the 93,000 sq ft Debenhams store that opened to much fanfare in 2017, closed in the Mander Centre. It is the first wave of store closures in an attempt to save the ailing department store. It is expected that Frasers (House of Fraser) will occupy the building later in 2020 opening a brand new flagship store introducing a number of brands to the Mander Centre. [12]


Throughout 2016 and 2017 the Mander Centre will see a multi-million pound investment from owners Benson Elliot. As part of the investment the centre will be completely refurbished and configured, a series of new larger stores will be created, forcing some stores to close down and relocate within the centre. Notably the closure of WH Smith and Tesco and the eventual relocation of Superdrug. The reconfiguration will also see new escalators and lifts, the removal of the Lower Central Arcade and the relocation of the toilets. But by far the biggest change will see the demolition of the old TJ Hughes store and Tesco to make way for the new 93,000 sq ft Debenhams Store over three floors, the opening of which will confirm the completion of the redevelopment in autumn 2017.[13]

It was announced that Debenhams would open in the Mander Centre on 12 October, signalling the end of the two-year refurbishment and reconfiguration. Debenhams have asked for local people to nominate a local person to open the store, which has created up to 150 jobs for the local community. [14]



As of January 2020 stores include : Bonmarché, Boots, B&M, Claire's Accessories, H&M, HMV, Krispy Kreme, Matalan, New Look, Superdrug, T.H. Baker, The Entertainer, The Perfume Shop, Wilko and various smaller independent stores such as Nicklemen and The Shop in the Square.


Stores formerly found in the centre include:

  • Woolworths - closed 2008 due to the company going into administration, now occupied by H&M.
  • WH Smith - closed in 2016 due to Centre refurbishment, now occupied by Superdrug.
  • Starbucks- Closed August 2019.
  • Debenhams- closed Saturday 11th January 2020.


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  5. ^ Labhart, Jessica. "New manager at Wolverhampton's at Mander Centre". Retrieved 9 October 2017.
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  • Sir Geoffrey Le Mesurier Mander (ed), The History of Mander Brothers (Wolverhampton, n.d. [1955])
  • C. Nicholas Mander, Varnished Leaves: a biography of the Mander Family of Wolverhampton, 1750-1950 (Owlpen Press, 2004)

External links[edit]

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 52°35′06″N 2°07′41″W / 52.585°N 2.128°W / 52.585; -2.128