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Thursday, 27 November 2014

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Record year for Gretna Gateway as Carlisle shopping figures slump

Shoppers are flocking to Gretna Gateway Outlet Village, which is on course for a bumper Christmas and a record year.

The number of visitors last month was up seven per cent on November 2011.

And it has just recorded its highest and second-highest weekly sales totals since it opened in 1999.

Gretna’s figures are in marked contrast to those for Carlisle, where shopper numbers are down on last year.

Peter Gardner, general manager of Gretna Gateway, believes that the economic downturn is helping outlet centres, which sell top brands at discounted prices.

He told the News & Star: “The economic climate is exceptionally difficult at the moment and people are coming here to make their hard-earned money go as far as possible on brands they like at prices they can afford.

“The new additions to our store mix have also played a part by strengthening our tenant mix and product offer and helping us to attract more and new customers.

“Many of our existing stores such as M&S Outlet, Nike Factory Store, Gap Outlet, and Sports Direct have also had an extremely good year.”

Gretna Gateway is on target to receive just under 2m visitors this year, which will be a record.

Total sales in November were up 17 per cent on November last year and like-for-like sales up eight per cent.

Nationally, total retail sales were up 1.8 per cent and like-for-like sales only 0.4 per cent.

The opening of Villeroy and Boch last month, Gretna Gateway’s ninth new store this year, took the Outlet Village to its highest-ever occupancy level. There is just one vacant unit. The other brands that opened in 2012 were Pagazzi Lighting, The Body Shop Outlet, Clarks Outlet, Berghaus, Puma Outlet, The Gift Company, Molton Brown and The Perfume Shop.

Mr Gardner added: “Great customer service also plays an important part. We have more than 400 people working at Gretna Gateway, which makes a valuable contribution to the local economy. We’re obviously proud of that, at a time when good local economic news can be thin on the ground.”

Gretna Gateway is open from 10am to 6pm daily with late-night shopping until 8pm this Thursday.

Shoppers who spend more than £100 after 5pm on Thursday receive a £10 gift card.

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