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McArthurGlen lures bargain hunters

Bargain-hunting shoppers helped designer outlet business McArthurGlen buck the high street trend this Christmas, with sales up 4% on a like-for-like basis.

The group, which runs seven UK outlets include Cheshire Oaks in Chester, said sales at its more premium designer brands were up 25% for the period from December 15 to January 4. Accessories also performed strongly, with sales up 21%. Footfall across the centres rose 2% on last year.

Total sales were up 6% for the period across all of its UK centres, which also include outlets in Ashford in Kent, Bridgend in south Wales, Nottingham, Swindon, York and Livingston in Scotland.

The outlet centre business bucked the overall high street trend, which has seen like-for-like sales slump in the economic downturn. Shoppers appear to have been looking for bargains on big-name brands and designer labels which have an association with quality.

McArthurGlen UK regional director Henrik Madsen said: “We are particularly pleased with the sales performance over Christmas, especially in light of the fact that we had a very good Christmas in 2007.”

Sales and footfall across McArthurGlen’s total portfolio, which includes another 10 centres in Europe, were both up 7% like-for-like. Total sales were up 14%.

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