CITY CENTRE BOOST FOR SUNDERLAND AS DRAGONS DEN BACKED APP GOES LIVE

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The arrival of a revolutionary new app in Sunderland, backed by a Dragon from the TV Show BBC Dragons’ Den, is aiming to help give retailers in the city a huge boost.

ParkingPerx rewards shoppers with free parking when they spend in participating stores and has gone live in Sunderland this weekend.

Ashington born Chris Reed impressed the panel on BBC TV show and secured investment from Jenny Campbell following his pitch. Jenny explains:

“I was struck by Chris’ idea but it’s his energy and passion for his product that really stands out. He loves the North East and is determined to help retailers following a very tough year as we head towards Christmas and beyond.”

Since the programme aired though, plans to start ParkingPerx had to be put on hold because of the Covid pandemic.

Now the new app is ready to launch and he’s hoping it’ll help give retailers a much-needed boost with brands like Primark, M&S and Halfords already onboard.

Chris said:

Like many towns and cities across the country, Sunderland has seen a significant drop in footfall over recent months and this has had a significant impact on the local economy. Research shows that people are willing to support their local High Street but parking fees continue to be a barrier to trade for town centres. We are working in partnership with the Bridges and Sunderland City Council, and have the backing of many national and local brands to reward shoppers who choose to support the city centre.”

The launch has also been widely welcomed by leading figures in the city. Sharon Appleby, Head of Business Operations at Sunderland BID said:

“I’m absolutely delighted that ParkingPerx is now launching in the city and that we are first city in the UK to introduce it. We have worked with Chris on this since the very initial idea was born and it’s great to see it finally launch. The timing is perfect with Christmas around the corner bringing the opportunity for people to earn Perx while out shopping which can be used immediately or when they return in the future. Innovative ideas like this are what we need to encourage people to come to the city centre and to return regularly.”

Mr Reed is now working in partnership with RingGo and is planning to roll out the solution into other areas of the UK in the new year with a number of locations already signed up.

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