IT CAN only be good news that a buyer has at last been found for Kendal's struggling K Village shopping complex.

The company - Lou Kendal Ltd - has promised 'substantial investment' in the centre and, although no details have so far been revealed, the organisation says it is confident the injection of capital will turn round K Village's fortunes.

The reasons why the centre failed are complex, but to launch such a retail development in the middle of a recession was not the best timing.

Another key factor was that K Village failed to hang on to the lucrative coach party trade that made the old version such a successful factory outlet. The length of time it took to build the new centre forced tour companies to search for other shopping destinations and enticing them back was never going to be easy.

The design of the centre, too, appears to have put shoppers off. As retail expert Bill Smith observes, the building can be cold and unwelcoming.

A further problem was the original planning consent only allowed K Village to be a factory outlet as it had been previously, which inevitably reduced the potential for both retail tenants and customers.

Another issue putting some shoppers off is having to pay for parking at the centre, although to be fair this was a charge the original developers did not wish to impose.

The upshot is that Kendal Riverside Ltd had problems attracting and retaining tenants at K Village.

Last year, it was hoped this could be reversed when the factory outlet planning restriction was lifted, opening the centre to a wider range of retailers; but so far no new tenants have taken up any of the empty units.

In 2007, when the old complex was demolished, some town centre retailers predicted the new incarnation would fail; and sadly they have been proved right.

But now is not the time to look back. We should at least give the new K Village owners the benefit of the doubt - and hope that they can turn round what could and should be a Kendal retail success story.