Liverpool One footfall figures are holding steady, and year-on-year sales have slightly increased, according to Miles Dunnett of Grosvenor Europe, with the shopping destination remaining confident in its future despite being anchored by troubled department stores, a 160,000 sq ft Debenhams, and a 240,000 sq ft John Lewis.
The two once-mighty High Street brands have struggled this year amidst the news of many other retail administrations; Debenhams has issued various profit warnings and is closing stores across the country, while last week John Lewis revealed a 99% drop in profits to £1.2m and announced it was cutting 200 jobs.
Dunnett, portfolio director at Grosvenor Europe, which developed, owns and operates Liverpool One’s 1.5m sq ft estate, said that he had seen “no impact of all the administrations or CVAs, as we are a tier one location” and remained happy with the roles Debenhams and John Lewis play within the retail district.
“For Debenhams, their Liverpool location is the second best trading in the country. For John Lewis, their store does the sixth best trade in the country. Around 20% of all Liverpool One footfall goes into John Lewis, so they are still absolutely fulfilling their anchor role.”
Liverpool One currently has no retail voids, Dunnett said, which he attributes to Grosvenor keeping a close eye on the brands that are moving out or going into the centre, and planning ahead for the reuse of units before they are vacated. “We have seen
At the end of last year, JD Sports opened a 40,000 sq ft concept store at the agteway to Liverpool One on Church Street, and according to Dunnett trading has been so high that the shop is JD’s most successful nationally.
However, demand is not just for the larger footprint stores. Later this year Grosvenor will be reconfiguring two units on South John Street, to create three smaller shops, due to “massive market demand for smaller, flexible spaces”.
On footfall, Liverpool One is on track to equal its 2017 figures, and is expecting 29 million visitors throughout the year. On sales, the centre is 6.5% up on its previous year.
According to Dunnett, one change is that people are making fewer visits to Liverpool One, but when they do visit they are spending more money, something which he calls “an increase in ‘destination missions’.”
Liverpool One is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, so what is the priority as the scheme looks to its next decade?
“For me, the next 10 years is about how Liverpool One can contribute even more and make more of an impact on the growth of Liverpool as a whole,” said Dunnett.
“We’re working on the wider destination marketing plan which is coming forward, and looking particularly at tourism, as while we get a lot of visitors the city is underperforming in that area.”