MORE than half a million visitors have flocked to a revamped North-East shopping centre in its first week.

The Gateshead MetroCentre regained its title as the largest centre in Europe when it launched the Red Mall last Wednesday.

The £85m mall has attracted huge interest, with visitor numbers up 21 per cent on the same week last year.

It includes a flagship Debenhams department store and 20 other retailers.

Tony Slipman, manager of Debenhams, said: "We have been inundated with lovely comments from new customers and we look forward to a successful time in MetroCentre."

Chloe Bowers, press manager at fashion chain H&M said: "We're really pleased to be part of the new Red Mall and it has been an exciting few days for us.

Last Saturday, the centre recorded its highest number of visitors arriving by car in one day.

A public transport interchange has already proved a success, with more than 100,000 shoppers visiting the centre by bus, an increase on the same week last year of 31 per cent.

MetroCentre general manager, Ron Woodman, said: "This has been an excellent week for all retailers."