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Gloucestershire Business News

It’s not a new night club – but has had investment to the tune of £400,000

Speculation has been that the spotlight-heavy ceiling on the top deck of a Gloucester shopping centre could be a new dance floor.

Clubbers hoping to trip the light fantastic should stand down, although the newly refurbished top floor of Eastgate Shopping Centre is very much about dancing to a different tune.

It is space which will be dedicated to helping the nation develop innovative new ways of making UK high streets worth visiting as shoppers continue to fill their baskets on-line rather than in reality.

Jason Smith, the boss of Marketing Gloucester, is the man charged with delivering the new glass-fronted spaces, which hide still more rooms behind, and the aforementioned 'dance floor', and he gave Punchline editor Mark Owen a quick guided tour - and even allowed him to film it (see the video below).

"This will be the UK Digital Retail innovation Centre (UK:DRIC). It will be set up to help high streets deal with the issues and try to find solutions for them," said Mr Smith, adding that there was also conferencing and shared work-space within the scheme too.

What that could mean to you and I is the chance for company's local and national to try out some of the very latest technical innovations they hope will lure us away from our phones and screens and into towns and centres like Eastgate Shopping Centre.

The county's local enterprise partnership, GFirst LEP, has invested £400,000 in the project which its chairwoman, Diane Savory, has described as "exciting". It also has the backing of the city council.

If all goes to plan it will see retailers and businesses coming to Gloucester to test technology, share ideas, and network, putting Gloucester at the centre of what bricks and mortar retails hope will be a revolution in their favour.

The centre will be:

• The national independent centre for technology solution providers and retailers to test innovative technologies and work in partnership to enhance and develop new and possibly disruptive solutions

• A supportive incubator and catapult for high growth new retailers, all of whom will have access to next generation technologies and methodologies and will be targeted on rapid testing of their business model and growth

• A centre for upskilling retailers in new and developing retail technologies and methodologies

• UK:DRIC will be based on the first floor of the Eastgate Shopping Centre in Gloucester for an initial period of three years.

Read more: UK's first Digital Retail Innovation Centre to open in Gloucester 

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