Demonstrating the continuing resilience of outlet centres, Christmas trading at London Designer Outlet (LDO) in Wembley Park illustrated customers’ enduring interest in quality, choice, year-round discounts and good service.
Located within the £3bn Wembley Park urban regeneration, LDO is the capital’s leading fashion and lifestyle outlet centre. It has a proven track record of success since it opened in October 2013 and has now achieved its 21st consecutive quarter of sales growth after a strong Christmas trading period that included its best week ever.
For the Christmas week, from Friday 21 December 2018 to Monday 01 January 2019, total revenue climbed +2% year-on-year with footfall +8% over the same period last year. Notably, footwear climbed by +14.4%, YoY, and sports brands at the centre continued their strong performance growing by +9.5% on the same period last year.
Like-for-like revenue increased by +1.5% excluding new openings in 2018 such as Big Moe’s Diner, JRC Global Buffet and Opa! Greek Bakery and Patisserie, as well as lease extensions, refurbishments and upsizing of tenants including Skechers, Guess, handmade burger Co. and Prezzo.
Sue Shepherd, Realm’s centre manager for LDO, said: “Despite the well documented pressures across the retail and casual dining sectors, outlet centres continue to appeal to our guests demonstrating strong growth in what was otherwise a very challenging commercial landscape. Whether from the UK or those visiting the UK from further away, footfall remained strong. Whereas many full-priced stores had to resort to pre-Christmas sales, at LDO we continue to offer aspirational and desirable brands at up to 70 per cent off RRP throughout the year. By focusing on added value services like free home delivery and providing a great guest experience, we have been able to exceed expectations at Christmas once again.”
Overseas tourists are seeing LDO as an important part of their trips to London and form the fastest-growing part of LDO’s business. Some 18% of LDO guests are from outside the UK with a 50% split between EU and other international visitors. Tax-free sales rose +7.0%, YoY (2018 v 2017). Of the visitors from outside the EU in 2018, 22% were Chinese (including from Hong Kong and Taiwan). A further 12% visit from India. Reflecting the diversity of guests, LDO has embraced several cultural initiatives, from fluent foreign language speakers in Guest Relations to Halal and vegetarian dining options in LDO’s many restaurants and coffee shops.
Launched on 01 December and provided free-of-charge for many customers for an initial period, LDO was the first UK shopping centre to offer Dropit, the app-based, store-to-door delivery service. All purchases bought at any of LDO’s 50 stores can be gathered together and swiftly delivered to customers’ homes, hotels or workplaces at a time and date of their choosing, with same-day deliveries available. The average transaction value for Dropit users in December 2018 was more than £260, more than eight times the average retail spend per head.
LDO is a premium retail & leisure destination, with the appeal of major retail brands, a choice of popular restaurants and bars, and a range of experiential events, with the added bonus of serious, year-round discounts. It is London’s best-connected outlet centre. Minutes from central London, it is easily reached by three Tube lines, two train lines, eight bus routes and offers ample car parking for just £1 an hour.
Footfall is 7.0 million per year meaning twice as many people visit LDO each year than go to Wembley Stadium and The SSE Arena, combined. Some 51% of guests are ABC1 and 84% are under 50 years old. The average guest age is 32, the youngest of any outlet centre in the UK.
LDO is managed by Realm, the UK’s specialist outlet operator; and is owned by Quintain, developer of Wembley Park, one of Europe’s largest urban regeneration projects. LDO continues to be resilient as the Wembley Park masterplan develops and the estate wide enlivenment adds interest and footfall as demonstrated at Christmas with the ‘Xmas Box’ activities and the launch of Boxpark Wembley.
The wider £3bn Wembley Park development will eventually support a community of over 15,000 full-time residents, many living in homes managed by Tipi, Quintain’s wholly-owned residential management business. The current development masterplan should be complete by 2027.