East London shopping centre Westfield Stratford marks its first anniversary today, announcing that it has welcomed a total of 47 million customers in its opening year, breaking shopping centre footfall records.
Within the first seven days of trading, the mall saw visitor numbers of one million, 40 per cent of whom return to the 1.9 million sq ft space at least once a week.
Averaging out to around 800,000 shoppers a week the centre achieved £500 million of sales in the first six months of trading.
During construction of the site, approximately 27,000 jobs were created and since its opening, 10,000 permanent jobs have been created, 2,000 of which were put in place for the long-term local unemployed.
Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, explained that Westfield Stratford has partnered with the London Borough of Newham to establish the first permanent training academy at a shopping centre, known as Skills Place, which offers training for careers in retail, hospitality and leisure.
Wales commented: “When we granted planning permission for Westfield Stratford City all those years ago, we knew it would benefit the borough.
“Westfield represents more than just bricks, mortar, fabulous shops and restaurants, it has been instrumental in helping us to transform the lives of our residents by providing them with employment and jobs that they can turn into fulfilling and rewarding careers.
“Shoppers, tourists and visitors will also bring economic benefits to Newham and will leave a lasting legacy long after the Olympics has rolled out of town.”
As a gateway to the Olympic Park, the shopping mall attracted 8.5 million visitors over the course of the Olympic Games and Paralympics thanks to a 30 per cent increase in trading hours, although this number will have been damaged by the centre’s decision to close its doors to non-Olympic ticket holders during the first weekend of the Olympic Games.
With 250 stores, over 70 resturants and eateries and a bowling alley and cinema as well as the UK’s largest 24-hour casino, the centre has attracted some of the world’s most-recognised brands including Victoria’s Secret, Armani Jeans and Liberty.
Commenting on the annual visitor figures, Bill Giouroukos, Westfield Director of Operations said: “Westfield is focussed on delivering the best customer experiences and the best environment for our retailers.
“Westfield Stratford City has the key ingredients for a successful shopping centre including a superior mix of retail, leisure and dining through to leading design, technology and sustainability.”
“Following an exceptional Games period for Westfield and our retailers, we are now entering the next key phase of development at Westfield Stratford City.
“We are committed to Stratford’s continued regeneration and look to deliver similarly iconic schemes in cities around the world.”