Cheshire Oaks has bucked the gloomy trend among some retailers and turned in its strongest ever trading.
The designer outlet, owned by McArthurGlen, saw new brands notching up a 15% year-on-year sales growth during the final three months of 2013 with footfall up 5%.
Described by McArthurGlen as ‘the leading shopping destination in the north west of England’, the village’s rising sales are said to have been driven by new brands opening, as the increasing ranks of savvy shoppers started their Christmas shopping earlier.
The traditional ‘man dash’ in the run-up to Christmas - where stores lend a helping hand to harassed husbands and boyfriends - boosted ‘particularly strong sales’ in the popular gift choices of accessories, perfume and cosmetics and jewellery which improved by up to 20%.
Sportswear and designer collections also performed well with sales increasing by up to 18%.
The company also points to a record-breaking first week of the sales (December 26-January 2), compared with the same period last year, holding strong against aggressive price cuts on the high street.
The outlet, with more than 145 stores and some of the most sought-after luxury names in fashion, saw its best ever trading week since it opened as the UK’s first designer outlet in 1995, with a year-on-year sales increase of 21% and 162,000 shoppers over the seven days.
International shoppers also contributed to strong pre-Christmas trading with tax free spend up 20% year on year for November and December figures expected to show strong growth.
Brian Handley, centre manager, said: “Our record Christmas results yet again highlight that a visit to McArthurGlen’s Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet continues to become an increasingly popular way to shop.
“Year-round savings of up to 60% are available on the most sought-after luxury, designer and lifestyle brands in a premium shopping environment.”
Retail consultant Nick Bubb commented: “In what was a very promotional environment in December in clothing retailing, McArthurGlen’s distinct package of designer brands and savings in an attractive environment stood out to both domestic and overseas shoppers.
“McArthurGlen’s designer outlets give consumers access to aspirational fashion brands that aren’t widely available and at discounts that seem more genuine than during the Christmas promotional frenzy seen at many multiple retailers.”
Mr Handley revealed that to build on Cheshire Oaks’s successful trading, as the trend for smart shopping rises, ‘vast enhancements’ will be carried out to the centre during 2014.
“It’s about taking the shopping experience to a new level of excellence,” he added.