Centre:mk sees visitor rise over Christmas and wider 2018 uplift
Shopping centres may have seen the biggest decline in shopper footfall of all retail destinations in the past year but some are bucking the trend with Centre:mk in Milton Keynes saying this week that it was among the top 10 UK malls in 2018.
That status came as it welcomed 25 million visitors last year and saw a 1.13% visitor rise compared to 2017. That may not seem like a huge uplift, but given the generally weak figures for malls with declining visitor traffic for most of last year, it’s pretty impressive.
The mall also said that it hosted 3.5 million people over the Christmas shopping period with some of its retail tenants seeing actual spend up by as much as 15%. And it’s upbeat for 2019 as it prepares to open a new Primark store this year.
As a visitor magnet, Primark is an important addition to any retail destination line-up. The plunge in visitor traffic to central Belfast after the closure of the Primark store there following a major fire illustrated just how crucial it is for boosting visitor numbers.
Centre:mk’s centre director Kevin Duffy attributed its success to the company’s £50 million investment programme, including its “award-winning guest services and brand new 'smart' car park," and said these "reflect our ongoing commitment to both our retailers and shoppers and we believe [we] will go from strength to strength as we move into the new year.”
The news underlines the growing disparity in the UK between the pulling power of the country’s ‘supermalls’ and the run-of-the-mill shopping centres that are haemorrhaging visitors as shoppers turn to online stores or retail parks instead.
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