Ashford’s two year long, £90 million-pound expansion to the already huge Designer Outlet finished earlier last month.
The centre hasn’t seen an expansion of this size or nature since its opening in March 2000. It receives on average a staggering 3.5 million visitors per year.
The 110,000 square foot centre received a deserved new lease of life driving more footfall after the boom of online shopping. With a 120,000-plant strong state-of-the-art living wall, which covers the size of almost 60 double decker buses and is the largest in Europe. It now has over 50 new high-end shops and restaurants, mostly situated in a new modern thoroughfare – including Armani, Starbucks. KentOnline revealed this summer plans to open Kent’s first Haribo sweet shop.
The expansion wasn’t without its setbacks though. McDonalds, a major part of the old food court, announced earlier this year it wouldn’t be returning to the centre after a disagreement with bosses. Extreme wind and rain caused safety concerns with the centres iconic tenting and in July, work was temporarily halted after six illegal workers were detained.
Here are some of our favourite new shops and restaurants…
Yo! Sushi is a popular and modern take on the world-famous Japanese cuisine. It features an iconic conveyor belt where eaters grab whatever tasty and diverse dish that comes their way. It’s a welcome addition to the Outlet, where most restaurants are of British cuisine. It joins Wagamama’s, another popular Japanese eatery.
The popular and exclusive Italian luxury brand has now come to Ashford. Selling stylish and iconic t-shirts, leather goods and shoes, shoppers can get huge savings at their Outlet store. Armani receives new arrivals into the store regularly, so shoppers can always get the latest and greatest items.
Pret a Manger is a popular coffee and sandwich shop. It now has over 450 locations, including the Outlet. Prett is known for their freshly prepared food, and organic, and fair-trade coffee. The store at the Outlet is warm and inviting, especially on the cold, late night shopping Christmas evenings. The Outlet branch of Pret is specifically donating left over food to local Ashford homeless charities.
Another high end opening at the Ashford Outlet is Ugg. The American footwear brand is known for their iconic boots and slippers, and now even sliders. Nestled in on the new thoroughfare, it sits perfectly in-place alongside other high-end brands. As the store is an Outlet branch, customers are receiving an amazing deal.
These are just a few of our favourite new brands that have opened at the Outlet over the recent weeks. What are yours?