Cannock designer outlet to add 50 new stores after exceeding targets significantly

A second phase for the new Designer Outlet West Midlands at Cannock is already being planned just three months after it first opened its doors.

McArthurGlen's Designer Outlet West Midlands has proved popular since opening in April. Photo: Gerardo Jaconelli
McArthurGlen's Designer Outlet West Midlands has proved popular since opening in April. Photo: Gerardo Jaconelli

In the first 100 days since the £160 million shopping destination - offering almost 200,000 sq ft of retail space - opened on April 12 it has attracted 850,000 people.

Centre manager Mike Thomas said footfall and customer spend at the centre, which is home to top brands, had exceeded targets significantly.

"We are delighted with the number of visitors. It has been very encouraging," he added.

Mr Thomas, who has been involved with the project for two-and-a-half years, said it was now intended to extend Designer Outlet West Midlands in phase two which would add another 50 stores and increase on-site parking.

So far 75 stores are trading at the centre which finally opened when non-essential trading was allowed to resume on April 12.

Work on building the complex at Eastern Way, off Lichfield Road, had started in 2017 and the original plan had been to open in September last year, but that was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Thomas said 80 per cent of the centre was now leased with another four to five shops on course to open there within the next six to eight weeks.

"We are attracting shoppers from across the West Midlands. We have so far only been marketing to people within an hour's driving time but will soon be extending that to 90 minutes.

"Our concern is still to keep people safe and although restrictions have been lifted we are being cautious and Covid measures are still in place and we are encouraging people to wear masks in stores and malls," he said.

He said that the momentum of trading at the centre was expected to continue to grow over the course of the year.

Customers queued to get in on opening day

"We have been busiest at weekends and also Mondays have been very good days. We expect to be busy throughout the school summer holidays.

"We are drawing a lot of our footfall from Birmingham and Lichfield as well as Cannock itself and surrounding towns and we are also getting a lot coming from Wolverhampton and Walsall. We even have some coming from as far away as Derby and south of Birmingham," Mr Thomas explained.

When the centre first opened it was not able to have food outlets serving inside, but as restrictions have lifted business has picked up and a further three restaurants including Wagamama, have since opened.

Mr Thomas said allowing people to go there to eat and drink as well as shop was seeing increased 'dwell time' in the centre.

The Cannock centre is the seventh of owner McArthurGlen's designer outlets.

Since April 12 the average spend per visit of customers during their shopping trip is almost 25 per cent more than pre-pandemic levels across its six established UK centres.

At Cannock spend is at the average level of all of the UK centres.

Customers have come back with a stronger intent to purchase and are spending nearly 15 per cent more per transaction in store within its outlets – reflecting pent-up demand following lockdown closures of physical retail destinations

Footfall across the centre is slowly recovering towards pre pandemic 2019 figures as customers still remain cautious.

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