Retail trading developed during the 1860’s and 70’s in order to supply the needs of the rapidly expanding township. Bolton Road became the main shopping area. Possibly this was because in 1843 the Bridgewater Trust, trying to prevent thirsty colliers passing the pubs with full pay packets, sited their pay office at the Recreation Ground (now St Marys Park) at Hill Top instead in the centre of Walkden.

In 1894 Tupp Row, the old cottages at the bottom of the west side of Bolton Road, were demolished and replaced by the present business premises, know as the Evans buildings, after Mr Evans the developer.

Late night shopping is no innovation. In 1901 Walkden Tradesmen’s Association decided they would open until 8pm Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; until 10pm on Friday and Saturday; with Wednesday as half day closing at 1pm. There was, of course, no Sunday trading.
Eventually both sides of Bolton Road were lined with shops and small independent businesses that catered for practically every requirement. As Walkden was not covered by any major trade directory, it is difficult to give a complete list of shops for any particular date. Some premises often changed hands, others housed long established businesses that are remembered by many people in Walkden.

Kenton's-the opening day in 1960 
Major changes came in the 1960’s. Walkden’s first supermarket, Kenton's, on Bolton Road, opened in 1960. Redevelopment of the west side of Bolton Road followed. Shops, terraced housing, the New Mill and the Criterion Cinema were demolished and the first phase of the Arndale Shopping Precinct was completed by 1965. This bought national multiple stores such as Woolworth’s, Halfords and Tesco to Walkden.

Worsley UDC built the Market Hall and the Pembroke Hall which opened in October 1965.
The hypermarket era arrived in 1973 with the opening of Scan, part of the Debenhams Group. This became Tesco in 1977,  when they moved from their smaller premises in the precinct.

The redevelopment of the east side of Bolton Road began in the early 1970’s and sheltered housing occupied the frontage from Cecil Street to Smith Street. Part of this has been demolished and replaced with Walkden Gateway housing the library and assorted medical services.

The precinct was refurbished in 1993. Tesco Extra was built to replace the former Tesco
 and opened in 2010.