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New stores help historic arcades buck retail trends

10 Apr 2024 4 minute read
A queue forming outside Whocult at the Morgan Quarter

Over the last year, two much-loved historic city centre arcades have welcomed 11 new businesses to the fold – bucking the trend faced by retailers across much of the nation.

This year alone, the Morgan Quarter in Cardiff, made up of the Morgan and Royal arcades in Cardiff, has welcomed popular doughnut shop, Whocult and independent café Maple & Bean – with UK-wide restaurant, Coppa Club, soon to join them. 

The openings of these businesses along with the likes of Lucy & Yak, Astrid & Miyu and Beyond Retro has led to a steep increase in footfall – going against the national retail trend.  

A recent study, by the Welsh Retail Consortium, found Wales to have seen the biggest decline of retail footfall of any nation in the UK with shopping numbers declining 8% on a year earlier and 4% compared to January. 

Despite these numbers, the Morgan Quarter is bucking the national trend when it comes to retail footfall statistics.

Footfall increase

In March, the Morgan Quarter observed a 62% increase in footfall compared to the previous year – with the first week of the month seeing over 100,000 visitors across the two arcades.

The familiar shopping destination for Cardiff residents and visitors is currently at 97% capacity, with 61/63 units being filled. 

The ongoing success of these two arcades can be credited to the range of independent shops and larger brands all available under one roof. 

From housing Cardiff favourites like Wally’s and Fresh Baguette Bar, to welcoming new and upcoming businesses like Whocult and Maple & Bean, it is an exciting time for the two arcades.


Just last week, Whocult opened their fifth store in the Royal Arcade.

With four stores across South Wales, including sites at Barry’s Goodsheds and in Newport Market, Whocult have developed a strong reputation for their delicious coffee and doughnuts, trendy, merchandise, and unparalleled customer experience.

Their long-awaited opening at 20 Royal Arcade did not disappoint, selling thousands of doghnuts in their first day alone. 

Whocult owner, Scott Magill, said the Morgan Quarter was the perfect place to open the brand’s fifth store. He said: “We were waiting for the right time and space in Cardiff, and the Morgan Quarter appeared to be the perfect location due to its central position in the city and the presence of other independent businesses, aligning well with Whocult’s ethos.”

The Morgan Quarter

Maple & Bean

February marked the opening of the second Maple & Bean, a small independent café which opened in Cowbridge during 2022.  

Maple & Bean was born after Abbie became frustrated with arriving for breakfast at 11:35am and being ushered onto the lunch menu. 

Now with all-day breakfasts, stacks of pancakes and amazing smoothies, Maple & Bean has already proved popular since its doors opened at 28 Morgan Arcade. 

After their success at the Cowbridge store, Abbie felt confident in looking for another location. She said: “We still can’t quite believe we are in the Morgan Quarter – it is such a beautiful location and a stunning building. 

“We are in such good company with our fellow retailers. It’s very inspiring to be surrounded by people who feel proud of their business, as many of whom are working for themselves.”

More to come…

This May, Coppa Club is set to be the latest household name opening their doors in the Morgan Quarter. 

With several stores across the UK, this popular high street chain known for their excellent food and drink is expected to add to the already impressive footfall seen in the Morgan Quarter this year. 

Coppa Club and Maple & Bean

Marika Jones, centre manager at Morgan Quarter said: “We are delighted to see a wide range of stores choosing to open in the Morgan Quarter. 

“There is a distinct sense of community among the businesses here. Everyone wishes success on each other to encourage people into these special arcades.”

The Morgan Quarter is open seven days a week between 8am-6pm Monday to Saturday and 10am-5pm on Sunday. 

Find out more here.

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