<< back to News

Can you see your collection at BLUEWATER?






Last week Tracy Robinson and I went to visit the 1.6 million square feet (148,700 m2 Bluewater shopping centre which has over 330 retailers and a unique mix of fashion and lifestyle brands. Anchored by M&S, John Lewis and House of Fraser, Bluewater houses quality brands not typically found within UK shopping malls.



With over 40 restaurants, bars and cafes Bluewater has one of the widest and most diverse catering offers in the UK outside central London with a 40% increase in spend in the last two years. This is an amazing figure in itself when only yesterday in the Evening Standard it was reported that the big shopping freeze within London is currently taking place. Shoppers are beginning to pull in their belts following the gradual increase in interest rates.


For those of you who are already a shopper at Bluewater the unit that has been offered is the Collezioni double frontage space. How appropriate is that! The shop fit comprises of white marble and, God is definitely looking down on the LFF team, the shop fit is still in tact which means we could be ready to roll and open pre-Christmas!




This is the current collezione shop fit, that will be re-vamped by the LFF.




Management team: Anna Brown,Tania Stowe, Rachael Coomber-Nolan,Alan Jones.


We estimate that the unit can comfortably house 40 designers and manufacturers SO WE NEED TO HEAR FROM ALL YOU OUT THERE WITH STOCK READY TO SELL.


For those of you who may be unaware of Bluewater here is an overview for you;


The Market


·          Bluewater is ideally located within one mile of  the M25 , with free car parking for 13,000 cars and easily accessible public transport links


·          Over 17 million people live within Bluewater’s total catchment, with 10 million people in a 60 minute drive time


·          Available spend within the total catchment on shopping centre type goods is very high at £18.2 billion


·          69% of Bluewater’s guests are in the ABC1 demographic. They are also younger than the population as a whole and as such have a higher propensity to spend on consumer goods.


·          Bluewater sits in the Kent Thameside area, a zone marked for significant re-generation over the next 25 years and including the development of the Eastern Quarry and Ebbsfleet International train station.





The Performance



·          Sales at Bluewater continue to consistently outperform national benchmarks


·          Over 27 million guest visits each year. This IS NOT A MISPRINT HERE 27 MILLION SHOPPERS EACH YEAR!   


·          Average dwell time is over 2.5 hours


·          On average, Bluewater  group spend is in excess of £110 per visit and rises significantly in the Christmas period


·        25% of the chain stores within Bluewater are the top stores within their company.  A further 44% of chain stores are ranked within the top 5.


·          Since opening Bluewater has won over 20 major international awards across areas of design, retail, environment and marketing including ICSC and BCSC awards


·          Recent industry recognition includes :


·          Retail Week 2003 Retail Destination of the Year


·          Best Marketing Campaign, Property & leisure Awards 2003


·          Best venue for groups three years in a row 2002-4 (Group Travel Organiser)


·          Best Parent Friendly centre as nominated by children’s charity Tommy


·          2004 ICSC Merit award for Sales Promotion


·          2003 BCSC Purple Apple Awards including – Best Overall Winner for centres over 800,000sqm, Best Media Relations and Best Advertising


·          ICSC Solal Marketing Awards 2003 – Centre Productivity Award         



So what do you have to do next?


CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY. We are now putting our case forward to David Jones our Director and Chair and The London Development Agency (LDA).  Whilst we have a rent free period we will incure costs.  We have to pay rates and naturally there needs to be a small low cost shop fit, staffing costs plus we need to have an internet site and telephone point.


Provisional costings are indicating that the cost to the designers will be a £150 a week (plus) a 25% commission on retail sales. Remember that the LFF is a not for profit organisation so we do not look to capitalize on any of our activities. However with this venture we will naturally need a credit card machine and this will incur us joining the BSSA, the British Shops and Stores Association.


I am always in and out of London so if I am not there in the office on 020 8462 1475 then speak to Tracy. Tracy has long been the believer that the Bluewater unit is the major way forward for everyone……and as you can see by the pictures of the unit….how right you are Tracy!


This is what we are looking for:-


Do you have immediate stock looking for around a collection of 20 pieces with a pack ratio of say one per size therefore we need 60 pieces of stock for each designer.


The collection needs to be good quality, well made and primarily at a designer price point. I know this sounds vague but for those of you who have been to Kingly Court this is exactly the philosophy here and like for like sales are up month on month. We will have to maintain a high standard of workmanship, originality of design and fresh new looks every month. Again this is the same principle at Kingly Court.


There still needs to be intervention by the designer this is part of your learning curve too and you will need to work at the Bluewater centre on a roster basis were it is reasonably practical to do so.


You will need to enter into a contract with the LFF for a minimum of a month period. Payment for the month i.e. £600 will be required before you move into the shop.


Sales will be paid to you (less 25% commission and VAT) at the end of the month.


All stock is to be quality controlled checked before the collection is on sale and there are stock room facilities at the rear of the unit.


Naturally all garments are to be swing ticketed and priced. Spare buttons available, wash care labels etc all present and correct.


As I am writing the article my heart is racing…what a fantastic opportunity for us all. I personally believe that we will also be inundated with press and I know the management team of Alan Jones and Tanya are backing the LFF all the way on this one.    


Just in case you had any doubts here are some other facts and figures for you to mull over just in case you had any concerns!


·          Demand for retail space at Bluewater is strong with a waiting list of retailers


·         International retailers such as Zara, Hugo Boss and Tommy Hilfiger have chosen Bluewater as their preferred location and as an alternative to the West End.  Recent retailers joining Bluewater include Biotherm, The White Company and Moda in Pelle.


·          By refreshing stores in the West Village arcade the leasing team continue to maintain a balance between international retail powerhouses and more independent and niche operators. This approach provides an environment in which retailers can test exciting new formats and ranges.


·          Rentals at Bluewater have recently exceeded £410 Zone A


·          Key retailers such as , Reiss, Woodhouse, Zara, Choice, Lacoste and Clinton Cards have traded so strongly that they have taken additional space in the scheme


·          Rent Reviews began in the second half of 2003 on a rolling programme





·          Bluewater’s unique triangular design with three distinct malls and leisure villages allows for specific segmentation of the retail mix into three areas of complementary trading.


·                    Rose Gallery (East Mall):  Features  the best High Street retail with a strong fashion focus.  THIS IS WHERE WE WILL BE!

·                    Thames Walk (South Mall):  Showcases retailers that appeal to a young, fashionable, urban audience these stores range from high street fashion to cutting-edge entertainment.

·                    Guildhall (West Mall):  Offers the discerning guest an exclusive selection of classic and high fashion retail and lifestyle brands.

Wintergarden (East Village):  Family-focused food offer with a string of well-known fast food outlets, occupying an award-winning glasshouse environment.

·          The Village (West Village):  With its accompanying arcade, this area offers gourmet restaurants, cafes, lifestyle stores and boutiques…

·          Water Circus (South Village):  Creates a vibrant and dynamic atmosphere with the 13 screen Showcase cinema, and restaurants and bars open late into the evening…



·          An innovative three-tier link from the car parks, through the Welcome Halls is designed to deliver similar footfall across both the upper and lower levels of the mall


·          Bluewater operates a Safe House policy to optimise guest safety and security.  Over 50 different safety features are built into the centre including the car park areas which are brightly lit and have wider spaces and fewer columns.



So this has to be a first for any Business Support Organisation. A unique chance to be part of a unique project showcasing your design collections at Bluewater shopping Mall. What are you waiting for? Get on the phone and confirm your interest. Christmas is coming!


Jenny Holloway

Industry Advisor

<< back to News