The 265,000 sq ft largely outdoor outlet centre is managed by Realm, the UK’s specialist outlet operator, and is part of Wembley Park, the £3bn transformation site by Quintain surrounding the world-famous National Stadium.
At London Designer Outlet, Quintain and Realm have worked with every tenant to agree individual plans and procedures. Clear signage around the centre will encourage social distancing, indicate dedicated entrances and exits plus one-way staircases to avoiding people passing on the stairs. Additional Guest Services staff will be on hand in ‘Here to Help’ t-shirts and queue lengths outside stores will be limited to avoid any crowding. DropIt, the popular, app-based, store-to-door delivery service that allows hand-free shopping and deliveries, often on the same day, will be free to anywhere in mainland UK from 22 June until the end of July.
To help with the journey to and from the 85-acre Wembley Park, three hours of free parking will be provided. This means visitors have a safe alternative to public transport. The neighbourhood is one of the best-connected areas of London with three Tube lines, two train lines and eight bus routes but also includes 3,300 parking spaces. Across the estate, including along Olympic Way leading to Wembley Stadium, nine hand sanitiser stations have been set up. Intensified cleaning routines will be in place during opening hours as well as night-time deep cleaning.
Sue Shepherd, Realm’s General Manager for London Designer Outlet, said: “We are taking every precaution to ensure our guests and everyone who works here feels prepared and safe. We’ve worked hard to keep within all the Government guidelines, while adding plenty of our own local initiatives. London Designer Outlet benefits from being an open-air shopping environment, and many of our brands are global, such as Nike, Gap and Tommy Hilfiger Kids. As such, they have been able to draw upon their experiences of reopening on Continental Europe and elsewhere, such as their greater use of technology including contactless payments and stock control. Garments touched by guests, or tried on, will be quarantined for 72-hours before being displayed again.”
The many health and safety initiatives will be scalable to embrace food and beverage when restaurants, bars and coffee shops open. Discussions are ongoing about an allowance for more alfresco dining and increased availability of takeaway offers.
In keeping with Wembley Park’s world-renowned reputation for sports and leisure, London Designer Outlet hosts major athleisure brands such as Adidas, Converse, Björn Borg, Nike, Champion, Puma, The North Face and New Balance. Its premium fashion, gifts and lifestyle names include Kurt Geiger, Superdry, Guess, Gap, Lee Wrangler, Dune, Moss Bros, Lindt, Clarks, M&S and Beauty Outlet. Casual dining restaurants and bars provide places to relax during a daytime shopping trip, or for an exciting evening out.
A number of the independent retailers in Wembley Park will also reopen this June, including bike shop Twenty3C and Black Sheep Coffee. These join the 4,000 sq ft Wembley Park Market which brings a 21st century approach to one of the oldest retail and community traditions across lifestyle, fashion, wellness and food and Bread Ahead, which both stayed open for delivery.
Matt Slade, Retail Director of Quintain, said: “Our flexible and collaborative approach was already in place with our retailers and restaurateurs before the pandemic and the strengths over the past few weeks show it is a pioneering route for others to follow. For example, we use turnover-based rents which have meant the financial burden faced by locked-down stores and restaurants has been eased without the need for confrontational re-negotiations. The result has been a symbiotic relationship and encouraged collaborative marketing initiatives between brands.”