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years, it’d been really successful with great return for retailers so Peel decided to bring it to Lowry,” explains Lowry Outlet marketing manager Andrea Murphy. “They undertook CACI research and found that food markets really appeal to the groups in our catchment area.”

Murphy worked closely with Gloucester Quays on the format of the market and spent a lot of time communicating with community groups, involving them in the festivities, like allocating bandstand slots to local musicians, wherever possible. “It went excellently well,” she says. “Our

post-event research shows that 13 per cent of those who came to the market were new to the centre, that’s a huge number considering the centre’s been open 11 years so it was successful in pulling in people from our primary and secondary catchment. It really drove positive opinion and awareness about the centre.” “We are thrilled that the Victorian Market

and as such, Prupim views them as an opportunity to grow into long term tenants. “Pop ups add a point of difference, giving

customers choice and variety and often something they can’t find elsewhere in the town or city centre. We may not have space to bring any in next year. In an ideal world we wouldn’t have any empty units but with the economy as it is there are opportunities to do these deals. And if a short term let goes well, perhaps they would consider long term. “They might have an eye on longer term but need time to set up the business and see what happens in the first year. We’ve got a programme where we look after smaller and independent retailers with a view to nurture them into long term tenants and that’s worked quite well for a number of years. Eden Hall is an area at the front of the Grafton Centre that has a number of independents so if we can accommodate new businesses, we will. While they’re with us they’re helping our offer and we’re helping them to get going by giving them a leg up.”

MARKETS Markets are another way to add to your festive offering, bringing in a new wave of shoppers keen to buy unusual gifts and artisan food for friends and family that may not be readily available on the high street. The Lowry Outlet brought a traditional Victorian-style Christmas market to Salford


Quays for the first time last year. Open on the centre’s plaza from 6th – 9th December, it boasted an array of over 50 uniquely decorated stalls selling handmade items, gifts, food and fashion. The organisers combined shopping and

entertainment by integrating the market with live music, street performances and a carousel. Visitors could treat themselves to a mulled wine while enjoying music from regional brass bands and choirs at the Victorian bandstand, or treat the children to a ride on a traditional carousel. There were Dickensian street

performers, from Victorian ladies in beautiful period dresses mingling with the crowds to travelling salesmen, street urchins and their Fagin-like masters and wanted criminals, all watched over by Her Majesty’s finest Peelers – ‘firm but fair policemen of the Victorian age’. Store managers, including The Body

Shop’s Natalie Burrows – which opened its doors on the first day of the market, said it “really helped to pull in the crowds.” Recording its highest ever weekly

footfall figures in over 11 years of trading, the Lowry Outlet welcomed over 137,000 shoppers. Over the four-day period, footfall was almost double what it was for the same comparable week in 2011 and total sales were up 33 per cent year on year. “Gloucester Quays has been running a Victorian market at Christmas time for three

has performed so well for us and in turn it really complemented and benefited our existing tenants in the centre,” adds centre manager Keith Hughes. “The markets have been a welcome addition to our Christmas offering. Peel Outlets has exciting plans for the future of the Lowry Outlet, and how the centre integrates with the local and wider communities. Part of that strategy is to hold impactful events that will really appeal to our key audience catchments, and of course to continue to support our strong retail and leisure mix.”

Murphy and the team are planning to do it again this year but on a bigger and better scale, expanding capacity to accommodate around 80 traders. In a challenging retail environment

and with growing numbers of shop units lying empty, bringing in new businesses, established brands or online retailers to open pop ups in the run up to Christmas, or setting up temporary market stalls – all selling stocking fillers, gifts and festive food stuffs – is a great way to add to your Christmas offering, invigorating your tenant mix and bringing in new customers. And with plenty of other seasonal hooks throughout the year, Christmas need only be one of a programme of pop up opportunities in any centres’ calendar.

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