London Designer Outlet sees strong Xmas, Dropit debut attracts affluent shoppers
London Designer Outlet had a strong Christmas trading period, illustrating the strength of the outlet model, despite the weak UK retail economy, and also underlining the growing appeal of Wembley Park as a shopping destination.
On Thursday Realm, which manages the mall, said that over the busiest Christmas trading period (December 21 to January 1), total revenue at LDO rose 2% and like-for-like revenue was up 1.5%, with footfall rising 8% year-on-year.
That period included the five-year-old mall’s strongest week ever, although the larger increase for footfall compared to revenue suggests that consumers were heavily focused on bargain prices.
Regardless of the price level, they were also heavily focused on shoes with sports brands continuing their powerful performance at the centre, growing by 9.5%, and general footwear up an even better 14.4%.
Sue Shepherd, Realm’s Centre Manager for LDO, said the company was able to exceed expectations for the Christmas period “despite the well documented pressures across the retail and casual dining sectors,” and that “outlet centres continue to appeal to our guests demonstrating strong growth in what was otherwise a very challenging commercial landscape.”
The mall has now seen 21 consecutive quarters of revenue growth and benefited over the Christmas period from a number of new names as well as from the launch of the app-based, store-to-door delivery service Dropit on December 1, which was a UK shopping centre first.
Fashion Network visited the mall in mid-December and on trying Dropit, found a service that’s particularly well suited to the location. It’s likely to prove particularly appealing given that many mall visitors shop on their way to Wembley Stadium, which doesn’t allow them to take shopping bags inside. A flexible delivery option is therefore a major USP for the mall.
And it’s particularly likely to appeal to the most affluent shoppers with evidence already seen for this as the average transaction value for Dropit users in December was over £260, more than eight times the average retail spend per head.
Realm also expects Dropit take-up to be strong among the growing international tourist customer base. Some 18% of LDO’s shoppers came from outside the UK last year with the numbers split evenly between EU and other countries. Of those from outside the EU in 2018, 22% were from Greater China and 12% from India.
With Brexit uncertainty keeping the pound low and London therefore retaining its status as a more affordable global city since the 2016 EU referendum, the tide of international visitors to its major retail destinations ins’t likely to ebb any time soon. And Wembley’s appeal should be magnified in the next few years with the area benefiting from a £3 billion Wembley Park urban regeneration spend by LDO’s owner Quintain. That includes major full-price retail development, for which Realm is the leasing agent.
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