NEWPORT’s Friars Walk has been dealt another blow – with the centre's Cineworld cinema unlikely to reopen as coronavirus restrictions are eased.

The company announced proposals to shutter the site in an email to employees, which has been seen by the Argus.

The news comes just days before Friars Walk's landmark Debenhams store closes its doors for good.

But Cineworld - which also runs a cinema in Spytty Park - has remained tight-lipped about the plans.

When the Argus asked the company directly if they planned to close the Friars Walk site, a spokeswoman said the Spytty Park branch would re-open when lockdown restrictions allow - but did not mention the Friars Walk site in this regard.

She said: “The Friars Walk cinema in Newport is temporarily closed, and when cinemas are allowed to re-open in line with government guidelines, our customers will be able to visit our nearby cinema at Newport Spytty Park.”

The cinema has been closed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Although cinemas were permitted to re-open for a period last summer before Wales was placed back into lockdown, the Friars Walk site remained closed.

The email sent to staff refers to “unpredictable business levels”, saying this “made opening both Newport cinemas unviable.”

It goes on to say “The environment remains challenging, meaning we must now face some difficult decisions.

“It is therefore with regret, that the business now proposes to close Newport Friars Walk and focus our resources on Newport Spytty Park.”

One staff member, who has asked to remain anonymous, said they believe the decision to close is a foregone conclusion.

“I love my job at Cineworld and I love interacting with the customers and I love working with the team,” they said.

“All I want is Cineworld to give us a chance to let us reopen and to let us run the cinema.”


The employee believes that if they lower the ticket prices to match the economic level of the local demographic and in line with competitors in nearby Cwmbran – as well as Cineworld branches in Cardiff or Bristol, that they would thrive, saving around 40 jobs.

“At our site we have regulars that come in and consider it a second home, they feel safe there, they feel at home. Our staff feel it’s a second home. They are warm and friendly and get to know our customers.

“We’re all emotionally and economically invested in making this site work financially.”

Friars Walk declined to comment when contacted by the Argus.