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Experiences and new stores help malls buck downward trend

Two design-led shopping destinations have reported positive sales growth over the recent festive period, bucking the trend for doom and gloom in the retail sector.

Liverpool ONE saw a 5% increase in sales compared to Christmas 2018, with full year sales being 2.5% up on 2018. The centre credits a push to sign new retail tenants as a key factor in its appeal, with 17 brands opening stores there during 2019. These included Ralph Lauren, Virgin Holidays, Too Faced and Morphe.

A series of experiential events, including an augmented reality Dinosaurs Unleashed event, helped to further drive footfall.

“It’s been a remarkable year of growth for Liverpool ONE, which is a credit to our forward-thinking leasing strategy and series of well-considered campaigns,” said Alison Clegg, director of asset management at centre owner Grosvenor Europe. “Welcoming a host of leading brands, and seeing occupants dedicate substantial investment into existing stores at the destination, has propelled Liverpool ONE’s exciting trajectory in 2019. We look forward to seeing this continue into the new year, off the back of an exceptional Christmas season.”

Meanwhile, the Icon Outlet at the O2 has reported like-for-like sales growth of 39% over the Christmas period. The centre saw its highest sales day since opening, on Boxing Day.

The attraction has opened a number of features since Christmas 2018, helping to attract more customers. The Street Food Quarter opened to provide more than 30 dining options, and a number of new stores arrived in the centre's second phase opening.

“We are delighted Christmas has been such a huge success and that we welcomed so many customers. Many chose to make a day-out destination visit to The O2 for outlet shopping at our premium brands, whilst also enjoying our enhanced experiences, including live music and performances, free gift wrapping, home delivery and our free parking incentives,” said Janine Constantin-Russell, managing director of Icon Outlet and the Entertainment District at the O2.