Co Down retail park's sales up as it battles downturn
A Co Down discount shopping park has said it's bucking a downturn in retail with sales up by 25% as it anticipates further new openings.
The Outlet outside Banbridge was renamed the Boulevard in March, two years after it changed hands.
And owner the Lotus Group said the park had now enjoyed a 25% growth in turnover year-on-year and a 7.3% upturn in footfall. It uses external company Springboard to monitor visitors to the site through counters at three entrances.
Footwear brand Kurt Geiger is due to open on the site tomorrow, following other additions such as Adidas, Asics and Beauty Outlet.
A spokeswoman said that around £7m had been spent on the site over the last year.
She said other new brands were also on their way - although the identity of the new retailers has not been disclosed.
Existing retailers such as GAP, Paul Costelloe and Calvin Klein have also improved their stores.
Alastair Coulson, managing director at Lotus Property, said: "The current economic climate and the unknown entity that is Brexit has weighed heavy on the retail industry in the past 12 months, bringing with it a domino effect of closures from top retailers such as Marks & Spencer, House of Fraser, Mothercare and Toys R Us - to name just a few.
"It's not all doom and gloom for the retail industry this month, though. At Lotus we have strived to stay positive and continued to push forward with our development and redevelopment plans at many of our retail destinations, no more so than at The Boulevard in Banbridge."
Lotus bought the scheme, along with Junction One in Antrim, in May 2016 in a deal worth over £40m. It said it had experienced a 22% increase in footfall at The Boulevard over the two year period.
Junction One has been renamed the Junction. Lotus is now carrying out a new £30m revamp, including the construction of a new McDonald's restaurant and drive-through. McDonald's is one of 20 new shops, cafes, restaurants and drive-throughs planned for the site.