Sunday, August 4, 2013

McArthurGlen's Ashford Designer Outlet could double in size

by James Scott - KentOnline - Friday, August 02 2013

Ambitious plans have been revealed for the Ashford Designer Outlet to double in size, it has emerged.

The McArthurGlen Designer Outlet at Kimberley Way, which has more than 80 stores, is understood to be looking at a major expansion to create a stronger link with Ashford International and the town centre.

Ashford Borough Council leader Cllr Gerry Clarkson (Con) mentioned the proposals in his speech to the full council, after speaking of the town’s economic growth and the arrival of a John Lewis store, currently under construction.

“The new John Lewis ‘at home’ store will complement our existing retail offer, giving our residents more choice to spend within the borough, and it will attract visitors,” he said.

“The announcement of this significant number of new jobs emphasises not only where Ashford is going but the opportunities that are on the doorsteps of local people.

“Add to this the ambitious plans of Designer Outlet to double in size, which reinforces the fact that Ashford is a place with ambition, vision and where businesses are going to thrive, especially as we move out of these trying times.”

The Designer Outlet has already undergone something of a transformation over the past 18 months, with the additions of trendy Japanese restaurant Wagamama at the end of 2012 followed by upmarket brands including French Connection, Abercrombie & Fitch, Swarovski jewellery, GEOX Italian footwear and Radley bags.

It is believed the new expansion could include even more upmarket shops including international traders to attract customers from London and the continent, and could lead to a greater need for visitor accommodation in the area.

Cllr Clarkson said: “They’re looking to expand to almost double its size and hopefully there will be over seven million visitors each year.
“They will be coming from abroad and from London and there will be good use of the international train service. I’m on a mission to bring a good many things to the town. Ashford won’t be recognisable in two or three years because it will be so busy and active.”
The portfolio holder for the town centre and urban economy Cllr Graham Galpin (Con) said: “I’m confident that what they’re doing would not steal any trade from the town centre.

“What they’re looking at is in a different league to anything we’ve seen in the South East.”

“There are certainly plans but they are complementary rather than competition and it will fit neatly into the town centre of Ashford.”

He added: “It’s very much a positive story. It’s going to do us the world of good and it’s going to make Ashford quite a special place.”

McArthurGlen spokesman Roxanne Postle said: “We are currently in the early stages of planning for the extension of our Ashford Designer Outlet. We will be able to release more details as plans develop.”


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