LUXURY THAT IS AFFORDABLE

Driven by leading designer outlet village developers Rioja Developments and family- owned, local property investment business Buckminster, Grantham Designer Outlet Village will be located close to the A1 on the southern edge of Grantham in South Lincolnshire.

“With Grantham Designer Outlet Village (GDOV), we’re creating a state-of-the-art retail destination that will transform our visitors’ shopping and leisure experience. GDOV is a premium outlet village, set just south of Grantham, which will be the southern tourist gateway to Lincolnshire upon completion,” explains Giles Membrey, Managing Director of Rioja Developments.

Construction of the new project is set to start at the end of summer this year with construction company Bowmer + Kirkland now appointed; the first phase will be 178,213 sq ft and feature approximately 90 units that will open in summer 2021. The second phase will be 94,809 sq ft and add an additional 30 units, which is anticipated to open 18 months later. The site will also accommodate 1,800 free parking spaces and is one of the only schemes with direct frontage and access to a major highway: the A1, the UK’s 3rd busiest road. Once open, GDOV is expected to rank highly in the hierarchy of UK outlet schemes, between McArthurGlen York and Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth.

Leasing on the project is progressing well, and meetings have already been held with many influential brands, all of which have been positive and several premium brands have confirmed their interest verbally and in writing. The vast majority of the brands who have expressed strong interest are new to the region and, as leasing progresses, it is expected that some will even be new to the country, bringing plenty of fresh, complementary retail opportunities to the area.

“Typically for a premium outlet village, the main focus is affordable luxury and higher end fashion and homewares, with a few premium eating establishments and coffee shops for the shoppers. We are creating an attractive setting for people to spend their leisure time in and, as with all premium outlet villages, shopping for high class brands at value prices, is the main leisure activity,” says Membrey.

The scheme will complement the area’s strong tourist appeal, with 580,000 tourists already visiting local attractions every year. GDOV will include features to encourage visiting shoppers to spend time in the local towns, villages and tourist locations, promoting the shuttle bus to Grantham town centre and the excellent F&B establishments already there. To further facilitate this, part of the second phase of the project will include the development of a hotel to encourage weekend and longer tourist visits both for the benefit of the outlet village and the wider area.

Grantham and the local area are currently under-served for fashion and homeware brands. Membrey feels that GDOV will rectify this and attract high end brands that would have never previously dreamt of going into Grantham high street or local shopping centres. Its development will mean residents will no longer have to travel long distances for a true premium outlet such as McArthurGlen in York or Bicester Village in Oxfordshire.

“This project is inspired by its surrounding countryside; our buildings are conceived as traditional village forms with contemporary sustainable finishes and high-quality shop fronts with weather protection for our visitors,” explains Membrey. Since its inception and throughout its planning and design, GDOV has taken steps to achieve the internationally recognised sustainability accreditation, BREEAM “Very Good”, for which it continues to be well on track.

The new development takes the very best of the most innovative and successful outlet villages in the UK and Europe and applies that success to a Lincolnshire setting. It is being designed to be successful not just in itself but to bring success to the local town centre. To this end, GDOV has a pop-up shop to showcase local businesses and its marketing will promote linked trips with the town centre and the region’s many successful tourist attractions, which already enjoy high levels of visitors.

“As with all well performing outlet villages, the drivers are good brands at value prices, along with a pleasant environment in which to spend leisure time. The village will be successful because it will provide the kind of brands that are desired by the region’s residents but haven’t been available,” Membrey highlights.

The £100M designer village will utilise social media in the build up to opening as a vital part of its marketing campaigns to raise awareness of the destination and the brands available, as well as engaging visitors with reasons to come and brands to consider. eCommerce will be used by the majority of the brands in the village, who will operate click and collect schemes, which the village will help to facilitate. So finally, looking forward, what are the most exciting challenges that face the scheme?

“The retail market in the UK generally is difficult at the moment but outlet retail has out-performed full price retail for the last six years. Our challenge is to keep that performance going by constantly listening to what our visitors desire and what our brands want. Thus we must carry out research amongst our visitors and our brands and stay in close discussion with them to make sure that“As with all well performing outlet villages, the drivers are good brands at value prices, along with a pleasant environment in which to spend leisure time. The village will be successful because it will provide the kind of brands that are desired by the region’s residents but haven’t been available,” Membrey highlights.

The £100M designer village will utilise social media in the build up to opening as a vital part of its marketing campaigns to raise awareness of the destination and the brands available, as well as engaging visitors with reasons to come and brands to consider. eCommerce will be used by the majority of the brands in the village, who will operate click and collect schemes, which the village will help to facilitate.

So finally, looking forward, what are the most exciting challenges that face the scheme?“The retail market in the UK generally is difficult at the moment but outlet retail has out-performed full price retail for the last six years. Our challenge is to keep that performance going by constantly listening to what our visitors desire and what our brands want. Thus we must carry out research amongst our visitors and our brands and stay in close discussion with them to make sure that what we do and how we do it remains relevant,” Membrey concludes.