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Designer Outlet Swindon Long Shop

Swindon Designer Outlet celebrates £40m expansion

The official opening of Swindon Designer Outlet’s historic, regenerated Long Shop building, now home to some of the most-loved names in fashion, takes place on 29 April.

The regeneration of the Long Shop building is part of a £40-million investment to create an even greater offer for our customers. With 250,000 sq ft (23,000 sq m) of retail space and 123 stores, the centre will build on its position as one of the leading shopping destinations in South-West England.

This comes at a time when the centre has experienced double-digit sales growth over the past 12 months, demonstrating its wide appeal.

The opening of the Long Shop is the first extension of Swindon Designer Outlet for 16 years. The Long Shop is housed in the Grade II-listed former Great Railway Works, once one of the world’s most famous railway factories and located on the edge of the town of Swindon.

The Designer Outlet, which opened in 1997, with a second phase in 1999, is a 15-minute walk from Swindon train station, with a regular, 60 minute-long train service from London, and two miles from the M4 motorway linking London to the South West of England and Wales.  

Gary Bond, McArthurGlen’s Development Director, says: “The opening of the Long Shop and the refurbishment of the centre is about taking the shopping experience to a new level of excellence. This also builds on Swindon Designer Outlet’s position as one of the leading retail destinations in the South West of England. Already, since the first stores started to open in the Long Shop last November, we are welcoming more customers from the affluent surrounding areas in the Cotswolds and the West Country, and more and more local people are coming along not just for the shopping but also for the cafes and restaurants.”

After being boarded up and empty since the Railway Works closed in 1986, the Long Shop is now home to some of the most sought-after UK names in premium womenswear, including Coast, Gerry Weber, Ghost, Jigsaw, Monsoon and Phase Eight, as well as a relocated and refurbished flagship M&S store of more than 13,000 sq ft – now the centre’s biggest store. Other new stores in the Long Shop include Ecco, Ernest Jones and Paperchase.

In total, 14 new brands have opened at the centre since October 2014, with more new names to be announced shortly. The brand openings are not only in the Long Shop but also across the centre’s existing malls, which, in turn, have been refurbished, to give a new, lighter look to improve the customer experience, while at the same time keeping the railway, heritage feel.

Reinforcing its reputation as a one-stop shopping destination, these new brands join such sought-after fashion names as Fossil, Hobbs, Hugo Boss, Next, Nike, Sunglass Hut, Superdry, Ted Baker and Watch Station. Swindon Designer Outlet is also renowned for its homeware brands (John Lewis Home Outlet – the only one in the country, as well as Le Creuset, Portmeirion, Denby, Tefal and Yankee Candle).

For those shopping with the family, Swindon Designer Outlet has opened the UK’s first Wall Holla children’s adventure playground and launched the Hooter Express, a miniature, electric-run train, taking children and parents on a trip round the centre. Both have proved to be very popular among customers, making it a family destination.

The refurbishment also includes a series of chill-out areas along the malls, whether for customers to plug in and surf the net, take the children to see the model Hornby train set, or to watch the world go by in-between store visits.

Gary continues: “A key part of the new look is the broadening of our food and café offering. This has really helped to drive footfall. We have become not just a shopping destination, but a leisure destination – with our consumers attracted by the brands and the shopping environment, and then staying for lunch, or dinner, a snack or coffee.”

Swindon has expanded its food offer, with:

  • The creation of a new Food Quarter, with Wagamama and Pizza Express among new names to have opened. Both these restaurants, which have exterior-facing entrances, are open until late in the evening, past the centre opening times,
  • Giraffe and SOHO Coffee Co. have opened, overlooking the newly created, glass-domed events space.
  • Other new food concepts include artisan bakery Patisserie Valerie.

The extension has created around 350 new jobs, with the centre now employing 1,100 people, making the Designer Outlet a key employer in Swindon town. The centre works in close collaboration with the local hotels and businesses as well as with Visit Wiltshire and Cotswold Tourism to attract visitors to the region.

Deb Heenan, CEO of Forward Swindon, the economic growth and regeneration company for Swindon, says: "The opening of more high-quality shopping and eating options in our historic railway quarter is proving very popular with residents and workers all over Swindon. We are proud that Swindon has been chosen for such a major investment.”

Swindon Designer Outlet was originally developed and managed by McArthurGlen and continues to be managed by them. It is owned by TH Real Estate, within the UK Outlet Mall Partnership – a fund for institutional investors, and in which McArthurGlen itself invests.

Andrew Rich, Fund Manager of the UK Outlet Mall Partnership, TH Real Estate, adds: “Designer outlets have been one of the strongest performing retail sectors over the past decade. Our UK Outlet Mall Partnership continues to deliver very strong returns, giving investors access to some of the best designer outlets in the UK, managed by leading outlet specialist McArthurGlen. The first class tenant line-up, coupled with the resilient nature of the outlet sector and McArthurGlen’s expert management, continue to prove a winning combination. Swindon is a very successful centre within our outlet mall portfolio, and the expansion is part of our investment strategy to continue to deliver strong performance for our investors.”

Disclaimer
Issued by Henderson Real Estate Asset Management Limited, 201 Bishopsgate, EC2M 3BN. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. TH Real Estate is a name under which Henderson Real Estate Asset Management Limited provides investment products and services. Past performance is not a guide to future returns. The value of investments and any income will fluctuate (this may be partly be the result of exchange rate fluctuation) and investors may not get back the full amount invested. Where opinions have been expressed, they are based on current market conditions and are subject to change without notice.

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