The Lowry Outlet Mall has been going for about seven years. Where other Outlet centres (Chesire Oaks, Fleetwood Freeport) tend to be on the edge of town or a redevelopment area this is in Salford Quays and under the shadow of Old Trafford football ground which is across the river.
Its a small outlet mall and I doubt its ever going to expand in phases like rival Outlet centres tend to. Conveniently it is indoors, however it does suffer from its size. Across two floors and a food court there is a small selection of shops ranging from Marks & Spencer’s Outlet, Austin Reed, Karen Millen, Cotton traders, Windsmoor, Molton Brown, Nike amongst a few others. There is also a cinema there. During school holidays the Outlet Mall has special children attractions
The prices in some of the stores raises concerns as to what type of Outlet mall this is. In some of the stores I visited, the designer labels on sale where not exactly at bargain prices. There is a Cadbury outlet shop and it cannot compete with Cadbury products sold at the local supermarkets.
At a time of recession, the Outlet mall should be booming. This one is struggling with a few empty shops and prices that will not scare the High Street or the nearby Trafford Centre. In fact after my visit I paid a trip to Costco and purchased designer clothes there at prices that I would expect to see in an Outlet mall.
What is worse is the parking charge palaver. In a previous visit some years ago you had a few hours of free parking. Now you get your parking ticket validated at the time of purchase in a shop for 4 hours free parking, if its not been done then you can according to the signs at the parking pay bay get it validated at a parking reception office.
I did buy something from one store. I was not asked if I wanted my ticket validated and I forgot to get it done. Not to worry as I could always go to the parking office just as the sign said. Once I arrived at the parking office I had to wait for a few minutes as the man in the booth was on the phone. The sight of me waiting for him did not hurry him up. Eventually he ask me what the problem was and I told him I wanted to have my ticket validated as I forgot to do it at the store and I showed him my purchase receipt. The gentleman must have been put out by my disturbing his phone call as he told me he would validate it this time only but in the future…..
Well there will be no next time as I will not be returning.
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