THE K Village effect is starting to kick in as Kendal town centre traders say business is booming.

Two months after the £100million shopping centre opened, management announced this week that footfall is up by 50per cent on the old K Village.

And in the same 11-week period, traders in Kirkland, Highgate, and Stricklandgate, also reported increased trade.

Mandy Dixon, K Village centre manager, said: “We are doing better than expected, given the economic climate in which we opened.

“Footfall and trade is up on what we forecasted and, although the last couple of weeks has seen a slide, we have exciting times ahead.

“We have new stores due to open in the near future and we are expecting a busy half-term week and Christmas period.”

The K Village, which opened on July 28, has 80,000 square feet of retail space, 25,000 square feet of office space and 90 apartments.

It currently has 17 retailers and two food and refreshment outlets.

Nick Hamblin, Cotton Traders retail director, which has a K Village store, said: “We are very happy with the quality of the new K Village and the customer reaction has been very positive.

"As always, in a new centre that there have been a few teething problems. But we are confident these are being dealt with.”

Paul Holdsworth, town centre and community support manager for the South Lakes Development Trust, said: “I’ve been to talk with every business in Highgate, and in the yards off it in the last week or two. A number of them said that footfall was up, sometimes really significantly, since the Kirkland footways were widened.”

Graham Vincent, SLDC’s economy and enterprise portfolio holder, said: “I have heard from many sources that the rest of Kendal is benefitting from the K Village.”

The K Village has suffered a few teething problems, with early complaints about parking fees and traffic congestion, and ongoing construction work.

Coach companies operating tours to the centre say they have had a mixed response from passengers.

A spokesman for Doncaster-based Buckley’s Tours Ltd, said: “We have had good feedback from our intitial trips.

"People said that it offered something a bit different and that it had a nice open feel to it, so we will be continuing our trips to Kendal, as the South Lakes is always a popular destination.”

But a spokeswoman for David Ogden’s coach company, in St Helens, said: “The driver who took some customers to the K Village said the feedback wasn’t very positive and that passengers felt it didn’t offer enough, although they loved Kendal itself.”

MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale Tim Farron said: “The centre is the vanguard of Kendal, helping in the fight-back against the recession, drawing people to us and showing that Kendal is a town with that extra added something.”