Bosses at a North Staffordshire shopping centre are looking for more success after more than two million people came through the doors last year.
Affinity Staffordshire, formerly Freeport Talke, has become increasingly popular with shoppers thanks to its offering of well-known retailers and independent businesses, as well as free parking.
The shopping centre, which boasts 45 brands, including Nike, GAP and Terraces, enjoyed a strong trading performance in 2019 and also welcomed new retailers Jaeger, Clarks, Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Jayley.
The footfall at the outlet mall has been released following a busy Christmas period, where activities and entertainment were organised for visitors.
Sue Sweatmore, the centre manager, has worked at Affinity Staffordshire for eight years and lives in the local area.
She said: “Retail outlets are about more than just clothes shopping. In the current market, our visitors want a mix of shops with a choice of reasonably priced items.
“We ended last year on a high note, as we were 100 per cent fully let, following the opening of a number of new brands last year.
“Our sales figures show how important fashion is to our customers, who travel from near and far, and we have been steadily building up our range of fashion brands to create a more rounded offer.
“We’re delighted that independent menswear specialists Terraces and Ministry enjoyed a strong and robust Christmas trade, and we believe that is all down to their carefully selected stock and quality service.
“As the retail market continues to involve, it is vital we continue to listen and adapt our offering to cater to our customers changing needs. We will continue to complement our stores with a great mix of activities and events, encouraging regular visits to the centre.”
James Turner, the owner of Terraces retail outlet store at Affinity Staffordshire, added: “Our store at Affinity Staffordshire has a loyal customer base and we’re seeing it grow from strength to strength.
“We really listen to our customers to make sure we offer the right choice and range of stock, and best customer service. Working closely with the management team at Affinity means we can really maximise events and marketing initiatives that add vibrancy and interest for our shoppers.
“We’ve had a successful 12 months and the outlet has given us the chance to offer something different to our customers.
“While we sell our products online, the store at Affinity Staffordshire is a really important – and convenient – destination for customers to browse through limited edition and high-end products at discounted price.”
Customers have also praised the variety of different retailers on offer at the shopping centre.
Eleanor Smith, aged 65, said: “It’s very convenient for me to come here from where we live. It has great parking for customers and it’s better than it used to be. The fact that it had a good performance is very encouraging and makes you want to come here.
“Since the Marks and Spencer opened it just seems to get greater.”
Twenty-two-year-old Charlotte Foster said: “It’s got a good variety of shops and it’s not always rammed which is good. You’re not stressing about it being busy so you’re able to come here and enjoy yourself.
“It definitely motivates people to come here if it’s performing well.”
Geoff and Shirley Smith, who are in their 70s, said: “We love that it’s inside and we are protected against the rain. The parking is free which is a bonus and there’s a good variety of shops for everyone here.”