Huge rise in tax-free spending by international shoppers Strong finish to year for town’s shopping centres
firstname.lastname@example.org Big-name retailers finished last year on a high, according to figures released by the town’s two largest shopping centres.
County Square in Ashford High Street and the Ashford Designer Outlet in Kimberley Way have both reported strong footfall over Christmas and into the new year.
Despite a tough year, with overall visitors slightly down year-onyear at County Square, visitor numbers over the festive period were up.
A County Square spokesman said: “We had 5,001,543 people through our doors in 2013 which was slightly down, by 2.3%, on 2012, but we were very pleased with these figures.
“The last week of December was up by 6% on 2012, with 111,500 people visiting County Square. On Boxing Day we opened our doors at 5am to allow for the crowds to come in and wait for the Next sale, which was starting at 6am.”
The Designer Outlet has reported a record-breaking start to 2014.
Sales rose 18% in the week December 26 to January 2, compared with the same period the previous year, with more than 70,000 shoppers during that week.
An overall increase in like-forlike sales of 14% was reported from October to December 2013, compared with that period in 2012.
And footfall at the centre was up 6% during the same period, compared with the previous year.
Centre manager David Maddison said: “Our strong Christmas trading results yet again highlight that a visit to McArthurGlen’s Ashford Designer Outlet continues to be an increasingly popular way to shop.
“Year-round savings of up to 60% in a premium shopping environment makes the centre irresistible to those living in the Kent area or crossing the Channel from Europe.”
The traditional “man dash” in the run-up to Christmas helped drive particularly strong sales in perfume and cosmetics, which were up by 27%.
International shoppers also contributed to strong Christmas trading, with tax-free spending up 35% year on year.
County Square bosses were pleased with the centre’s performance over Christmas