Half a million shoppers flock to new mall in first five days

Shoppers in Victoria Gate, Leeds.
Shoppers in Victoria Gate, Leeds.
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Retail analysts have hailed the ‘John Lewis effect’ as over a half a million shoppers descended on the new Victoria Gate shopping mall within the first week of opening.

Footfall statistics revealed to the Yorkshire Evening Post show the popularity of the development and the John Lewis brand among customers and also the interest it has generated within the city and beyond since it was launched a week ago.

In just the first 15 minutes of opening 2,000 people passed through the centre’s doors and records show that one hour attracted over 12,000 visitors.

From Thursday to Sunday there were 411,202 visitors.

The £37 million flagship John Lewis, which covers an unprecedented five floors and is the largest outside of London, is the anchor of the Hammerson’s Victoria Gate project and the head of the Leeds branch said the success had “exceeded” even their expectations.

Appointments with personal stylists have been booked beyond Christmas, the UK range Loved&Found is one of the top performing ranges and on Saturday there were customers from as far away as Scotland.

James Prince said: “We had always anticipated it was going to be a busy first week, but its safe to say the response so far has exceeded all expectations.

“Last Saturday was one of the busiest shopping days John Lewis has ever seen, and I was extremely proud to see the doors open and people enjoying the brilliant offer our team have worked so hard to put together here in Leeds.

“Our partners have done a brilliant job and we hope the first week success continues as we start to gear up to Christmas.”

Gerald Jennings, president of the Leeds Chamber of Commerce said the development was a “huge accolade for Leeds” and a major boost to the city’s profile as much as it was for the economy.

He said: “The knock on effects -the John Lewis “halo” – should not be underestimated. We’re already seeing complementary investment by Leeds City Council in the market and there are further proposals planned for Quarry Hill, opposite John Lewis, by both the West Yorkshire playhouse and Leeds City College. The confidence it shows will attract more investment into Leeds”