UK’s first outlet shopping centre celebrates 20th birthday


Last weekend, the UK’s first outlet shopping centre, Clarks Village, celebrated its 20th Birthday along with thousands of shoppers.

Since opening its doors in 1993, the centre has established itself as the West Country’s number one visitor attraction, annually welcoming 4.2 million visitors hoping to pick up a bargain while enjoying the unique village feel of the centre.

Thousands of shoppers gathered to celebrate at a Vintage Summer Fete on Saturday and Sunday, with a whole host of live entertainment on offer throughout the weekend, with expert cooking demonstrations from celebrity chef Paul Da Costa Greaves, musical acts, face painting, a cupcake decorating workshop and vintage nail bar.

In keeping with British tradition, the Vintage Summer Fete came complete with a few downpours, but luckily Clarks Village had prepared some special gifts to keep shoppers dry and happy. Hundreds of colourful umbrellas were given out free so there were smiles galore despite the rain!

Charlotte Craven, Marketing Manager at Clarks Village commented: “We were really pleased that so many people had fun during weekend of festivities to mark our 20th birthday event. We loved being able to celebrate with shoppers and staff alike and we are really glad that everyone enjoyed the weekend’s festivities as much as we did!

“We’ve come a long way since 1993. We now have over 90 retailers at Clarks Village, including some of the UK’s biggest and best loved brands who are attracted to the unique and relaxed style of the centre and altogether different shopping experience for our customers.”

The perfect place to combine an enjoyable shopping experience within rural Somerset, Clarks Village was founded on the site of the unused Clarks International shoe factory. In a visionary move, Clarks International had boldly decided that rather than selling the factory, they would expand their shoe factory buildings and add an entire ‘village’ of shops.

With a fondness for Somerset still front of mind, it was decided the village should bring to life the charm of the area, with paved walkways, landscaped gardens and children’s play areas.

Today, Clarks Village is home to 94 retail units spanning 194,000 square feet. With 4.2 million visitors every year, it is the number one visitor attraction in the West Country. Impressively, nine staff members have worked at Clarks Village since its doors first opened 20 years ago, a testament to the centre’s focus on maintaining a positive and enjoyable working environment.


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