London’s latest shopping experience arrived on 24 October when the 350,000 sq ft London Designer Outlet opens in Wembley. This is the first designer outlet within the M25 and a sign of the growing success of this style of shopping experience.
There are 50 designer outlets in the UK and 49% of the UK population have visited a designer outlet in the last 12 months. 63% say their purchases at outlets are in addition to high street and online buying. The appeal of designer outlets has a particular resonance with consumers during times of recession. It is all about the thrill of grabbing a bargain on a well-known brand that you wouldn’t normally be able to afford. While sales on the high street have suffered, the permanent year-round discounts of 30% to 70% on quality designer goods has resonated with customers since the concept was introduced to the UK by McArthurGlen in 1995 at Cheshire Oaks. The group is the UK’s and Europe’s largest with 21 centres across Europe. The group’s sales grew last year by 18% to £1.6 billion.
90% of visitors to McArthurGlen’s UK designer outlets are spending customers and 70% are ABC1 – upmarket shoppers on a mission. Brand experiential campaigns in these environments give clients the opportunity to be situated amongst the most sought-after luxury, designer and high-street brands. The promotional site in The Quarter at Cheshire Oaks, the UK’s largest designer outlet, is surrounded Kurt Geiger, Burberry, Armani, Michael Kors, TAG Heuer and Polo Ralph Lauren. By contrast, Westfield London’s premium Village – home to 42 designer brands including Kurt Geiger and Burberry, is the only area of this highly successful shopping centre where there are no experiential marketing sites.
Coca-Cola ran a one-day event at Cheshire Oaks in late July promoting their personalised bottles. Half an hour before the event started there was already a queue of 120 people waiting to take part and during the day 1,700 personalised bottles were created and 5,000 samples distributed. Designer outlet centres also deliver quality leads for car dealership networks and manufacturers using the venues for car placements. A week-long campaign at East Midlands Designer Outlet generated sales of two BMW coupes – an excellent return on investment.
With the designer outlet format arriving in London, the capital’s marketing and media agencies will be able to easily experience the buzz of a bargain and the quality of the environment.
Brandspace is the exclusive experiential partner for McArthurGlen’s UK designer outlets.