Update: Galleria in Hatfield continues to buck gloomy economic forecasts
SCARCELY a day passes at the moment without the word recession cropping up in the news. But for one Times Territory shopping complex, the downturn is not being felt as keenly as it is in the high street. The Galleria outlet centre,
SCARCELY a day passes at the moment without the word recession cropping up in the news.
But for one Times Territory shopping complex, the downturn is not being felt as keenly as it is in the high street.
The Galleria outlet centre, on Comet Way, Hatfield, has reported increased footfall and sales throughout January.
And director Tim Stirling told the WHT he has every reason to believe the centre can continue to buck the current retail trend.
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"We are very positive about the future," he said.
"We have had a very good January - traffic in the first week of the month was 26 per cent up on last year."
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He added: "Undoubtedly the cold weather snap has helped being an indoor centre."
Mr Stirling believes one of the main reasons why the Galleria is doing so well is that it is different to many other shopping centres in the area.
"The factory outlet concept that is at the Galleria is unlike what you find at WGC's Howard Centre," he said.
"We don't have any supermarkets selling food, so this is not somewhere where you would come every single week.
"People come back because we offer designer brands at great value."
Over the last three years, more than �3m has been invested in the Galleria and, in the last 14 months alone, a number of new shops have opened, including Calvin Klein, Jeff Banks, Gant and Rock Couture.
A French Connection clothing store is due to open shortly and, when asked about new brands, Mr Stirling said there are "too numerous plans to discuss".
He also said the shorter leases the centre offers its retailers allows him to review the mix of brands available to his customers.
"Retailers are as important to us as the general public," he said "and we are continually looking to refresh the Galleria's retail offer."
He added: "The investment in the centre, in the community and in our people will continue throughout 2009 and everyone will need to come by to see our plans come to fruition.