Post Covid preference signals a renaissance for out-of-town retail
Since opening their doors on June 15, The Boulevard, Banbridge and The Junction, Antrim, two of Northern Ireland’s largest out-of-town retail schemes, have enjoyed a significant rise in footfall comparable to the same period in 2019 and unlike many high streets, this hasn’t dipped dramatically as the novelty of being out wears off.
In the last fortnight alone, between both schemes the footfall was up by as much as 15% than it was in the same fortnight last year. Major anchor tenants have reported outperforming many of the strongest UK schemes, with feedback showing Northern Ireland is consistently performing better than the rest of the UK. Brands such as Beauty Outlet, GAP, Mountain Warehouse, Denby, Asics and Nike are seeing sales increases between 10.5% and 124.6% Fresh air, free car parking and extensive square footage are just some of the reasons that owners Lotus Property attributes to the success of both schemes.
Alastair Coulson, managing director, Lotus Property, commented: “With fresh air, green spaces, minimal touch points and one-level free parking, we have really been able to capture shopper confidence at a time when returning to physical stores may still be approached with caution. At both schemes, we also invested heavily into PPE, social distancing measures and hand sanitising stations to ensure a safe and comfortable shop for both staff and customers. “