Discounts attracts bargain hunters at The Boulevard as it enjoys best week ever

Outlet model remains firm favourite with Irish shoppers in 2023

Northern Ireland’s only designer outlet has once again bucked the national trend of retail downturn, achieving its best week ever in the run up to Christmas and ending the year on a record turnover figure.

Trading up 8% year-on-year for the Christmas week, the scheme, owned by Lotus Property, significantly outperformed local high street, retail parks and shopping centre competitors, with shoppers attracted by the heavily discounted big brands, such as Levi’s, Nike, Timberland, Kate Spade ny and Molton Brown.

Christmas Eve sales remained strong, despite limited Sunday trading hours in Northern Ireland, with a 7% increase in spend, based on hour-for-hour comparative trade.

Elsewhere however a more bleak Christmas Eve outlook with shoppers shunning the high streets, resulting in a drop of more than a third in sales, as reported in the Daily Telegraph last week.

Chris Nelmes, Retail Director at The Boulevard, commented:

“Adverse weather and cost-of-living are factors that are no doubt contributing to a nationwide downturn this festive season however, The Boulevard has consistently held strong and still continued to welcome shoppers who were looking for quality items with a guaranteed discount, which meant we achieved a decent increase in sales from the same period last year.

“We welcomed Under Armour to the scheme halfway through the golden quarter and the onsite team has traded extremely well since arriving, with a standout first month and continued sales right through to Christmas.

“Even Christmas Eve, which presented a significant disadvantage with reduced trading hours between 1pm-5pm, performed comparatively well against a full day of Saturday trading last year. Our strong gift offer with brands such as Perfume Shop, Claire’s, and Molton Brown meant The Boulevard was a great option for last minute presents and smaller stocking filler items.”

The scheme has been heavily invested in since being bought by Lotus Property, and ends 2023 on a record breaking turnover, more than double its turnover over in the seven years since acquisition.

Chris Nelmes continued: “As the only designer outlet offer in Northern Ireland and one of the strongest contenders on the island of Ireland, The Boulevard attracts both local and cross border visitors and has, since the end of lockdown restrictions, increasingly attracted international visitors, especially those who are visiting the world renowned Game of Thrones Studio Tour as they have to Park and Ride at The Boulevard.

“We’re confident that Winter Sale and a strong sports and outdoor category will continue to draw shoppers in as we get through the traditionally hard winter months.”