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Cash bonanza as customers hit Newham’s shopping centres

PUBLISHED: 12:08 10 January 2017 | UPDATED: 12:08 10 January 2017

Shoppers at Westfield Stratford City

Shoppers at Westfield Stratford City

Archant

Shoppers have been flocking to the borough in droves in search of bargains during this year’s January sales.

Hundreds of thousands are reported to have passed through the doors of Westfield Stratford City and the Stratford Centre with reports that visitor numbers are up at Gallions Reach Shopping Park.

The latter’s centre manager, Arnold Catterall, welcomed the improvement in customer spending at the Beckton retail park.

“It’s good news all round,” he said. “Last year shoppers weren’t spending. This year they seem to be spending, but spending thoughtfully online.

“It’s more of a savvy shopper.”

Mr Catterall explained that the Armada Way hub’s clothing stores and restaurants have done especially well so far this month and over the Christmas period.

Measuring visitors by counting the number of cars entering the shopping park, he reported a 4.6 per cent rise for this year compared to 2015’s figures.

“We think that when Westfield opened it affected all shopping centres, but we’re going back to the original figures pre-Westfield,” explained Mr Catterall, who has been managing Gallions Reach since August last year and partly attributes the park’s success to the free parking it provides shoppers.

“When you need to buy something you go to a local shopping centre for the stuff you want. If you want a day out you go to Westfield. We serve the local shopper,” he added.

“Shopping parks are doing well. Shopping centres are suffering at the moment because parking is a major problem.”

Combining figures from its stores in Stratford and Shepherds Bush, Westfield saw 340,000 visitors during its Boxing Day sales with 13 million visiting a Westfield store over the Christmas period.

Bargain hunters started queuing as early as 2am outside the chain’s Newham branch, with clothes store Next reporting it had sold out of all its stock by 7am.

Myf Ryan, Westfield UK and Europe’s chief marketing officer, said that for many shoppers the Boxing Day sales continue to be an important date with many people having received spending money or gift cards for Christmas and using it on Boxing Day to treat themselves.

“The entertainment, dining and cinema offerings also draw in the customers particularly with the new big film releases.

“We expect high growth during the busy sales period,” he added.

The Stratford Centre has continued to break its own records after seeing footfall continually rise.

Centre manager Tony Whitehorn commented: “We are thrilled to see our footfall still surpassing our record year last year which reached over 26 million and was up 4.8%.

“The first week in January is already 1.5% up year on year. The centre is going from strength to strength and this is reflected in the individual store performances.”


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