Designer shops centre is bucking recession
DESIGNER shopping centre Kildare Village is one of the few retailing areas to pencil in a major expansion this year.
Consumers have held back significantly on spending as the volume of retail sales fell by 3.7pc in January.
Clothing retailers and furniture stores are feeling the pinch the most.
But those located in the discount retail centre have reported a positive turnaround.
The company behind Kildare Outlet Village, Value Retail Ltd, now want to create space for an additional 34 units to cope with demand.
Currently, Ralph Lauren, Northface, Louise Kennedy and LK Bennett are some of the anchor tenants at the plush retail centre.
The new floorspace, if granted permission from Kildare County Council, will include two restaurants and a tourist information centre.
The centre, which opened at the height of the boom in 2006, has received a number of enquiries from further brands wishing to trade in the village.
Some 60 fashion brands are currently at the centre and have reported strong footfall and ringing tills.
"We are pleased with the strong increase in our sales, the gains in visitors from our global tourism markets and the arrival of new international brands," the company said.
The firm also has plans to expand its car parking facility at Nurney Road, Kildare town which will result in 409 additional car parking spaces.
All in all the extension covers over 7,000sqm -- and creating an 18,000sqm space. Despite a massive drop in retail sales right across Ireland, falling 0.8pc within the year, the company recorded a significant increase of 17pc to €6.2m last year.
And Kildare Village has targeted an increase in overseas visitor numbers from 8.5pc to 16pc of the total this year.
The construction of the impressive purpose-built shopping centre was financed by a €37.5m loan from Bank of Scotland (Ireland).
Turnover in 2011 was mainly due to €3.5m in licence fees and about €2.6m in service charges from retail tenants.
Retail Excellence Ireland described the overall fall in retail sales returns as "very disappointing but not unexpected".
"Fears over job security and continued austerity are weighing heavy on consumers' minds. Retail Excellence Ireland members are reporting that the 2pc rise in the higher rate of VAT is depressing spending," said chief executive officer David Fitzsimons.