The theory goes that in a recession shoppers should flock to factory outlets. But today’s news that Hornsea Freeport shopping village has gone into administration bursts that bubble.
The theory goes that in a recession shoppers should flock to factory outlets.
Landlords would have us believe that the pull of discount designer clothing is enough to make their outlets steady ships when all around retailers are foundering.
But today’s news that Hornsea Freeport shopping village has gone into administration bursts that bubble. It is the first of its kind to call in the administrators.
Worrying as this is though, when you look at the motley collection of retailers that are in the scheme – two of the most well-known being Clarks and Pilot – it is hard to say that the collapse of the scheme is particularly surprising.
Like any type of retail development, there is a first and second division of factory outslets. Hornsea won’t be the only second-tier scheme in an out-of-the-way location to be suffering.
Recession or no recession, retailing is a harsh but fair business that shows very little mercy to the shopping centres, high streets or indeed factory outlets that don’t have a strong enough offer.
It’s simply not enough to offer cheap goods to shoppers - you need to give them something extra that wows them into dusting off their credit cards.
The outlets that do offer this in the form of designer clothing from top brands at a genuine bargain are still going strong, and an increasing number of retailers are now quite rightly seizing the opportunity to take advantage of discount-seeking shoppers.
But as Hornsea Freeport shows, if you don’t make shoppers or retailers an offer they can’t refuse, when the chips are down an outlet is just as dangerous a place to be as any high street or shopping centre.
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