Shoppers flocking to newly re-opened city centre are spending four times more than average, say Milton Keynes centre bosses

Average transaction values at the centre;mk today are four times higher than they were before lockdown.
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Footfall has soared by 254 per cent compared to this time last year - and the biggest spend is on fashion items.

Centre boss Kevin Duffy said: “We have made extensive plans for our shoppers to be able to return confidently and so far it has paid off. Queues for popular stores such as Primark and TK Maxx hit 30 minutes when stores opened first thing this morning, but because we have such wide malls and large stores, the capacity has been absorbed quickly.

Buskers were on hand across the scheme to entertain those waiting and keep everyone moving and there was a great buzz about the centre, while feedback from shoppers was "really positive," he said.

The highest spend is on clothingThe highest spend is on clothing
The highest spend is on clothing

He added: “We were expecting footfall to be down given the level of expectation in relation to queues nationally but with spend significantly up, our estimates were about right, with many retailers reporting significant growth in spend and average transaction values year on year. Given the success of today and the ease with which people have been able to return, we expect that spend and footfall will steadily grow over the coming weeks”.

As stores opened, shoppers were asked by the centre to “play their part” and abide by the social distancing measures that remain including using the hand sanitising stations, following a one way system in each section of the centre and, when required to wait, doing so in the areas indicated.

Over 80 shops have now re-opened with more to follow, including John Lewis, over the next few weeks.

Mr Duffy said: "While many high streets experienced chaotic scenes, centre:mk was able to welcome a significant number of shoppers into the centre following a well thought through operating plan that was clearly working. The plan, coupled with the design of the iconic centre, with its 2.5km of wide mall and 18 exterior doors, all helped shoppers to return with confidence."