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Ashford Designer Outlet opening hours to be extended as five shops remain closed

Opening hours at the Ashford Designer Outlet will be extended later this month – but five stores remain closed.

Shopping centre bosses are currently welcoming customers from 10am to 6pm seven days a week.

The Designer Outlet car park was busy this morning
The Designer Outlet car park was busy this morning

But from Monday, July 27, the site will remain open until 9pm from Monday to Friday.

At the weekends, it will serve shoppers between 9am and 9pm on Saturday and 10am to 6pm on Sunday.

Outlet chiefs say 97% of their stores have now reopened, but five shops are still shut off.

American fashion company Kate Spade is one of the stores which is currently closed, while British accessories brand Radley is another yet to reopen.

Three other stores –TM Lewin, Cath Kidston and Soletrader – are also included on the list of units still closed.

Shoppers at the Designer Outlet this morning
Shoppers at the Designer Outlet this morning

Earlier this month, shirtmaker TM Lewin announced it will shut all 66 of its UK shops.

It is a similar story at fashion retailer Cath Kidston – which is known for its flora and polka dot designs – after it announced it was to shut its 60 UK stores in April.

Meanwhile, Soletrader is reportedly closing eight of its 37 stores in Britain after its parent company placed it into a creditors’ voluntary liquidation.

It is not yet known whether the Designer Outlet store will be affected.

Despite the continued closures, centre manager Peter Corr says he has been pleased to welcome shoppers back to the site, which has introduced increased cleaning and hand sanitiser stations.

Signs welcoming shoppers back to the site have gone up around the centre
Signs welcoming shoppers back to the site have gone up around the centre

"We’re thrilled so many customers have felt confident in returning to our centre and that the measures we have implemented have gone a long way in making guests feel safe," he said.

"Since reopening, our activewear and homeware brands have seen a spike in demand, with lockdown hobbies like cooking and outdoor pursuits clearly here to stay.”

When the centre reopened last month, outlet chiefs introduced a one-way system "where appropriate", but it is now no longer included on a list of measures to help protect shoppers.

Shoppers are asked to keep their distance and use the hand sanitiser available around the centre
Shoppers are asked to keep their distance and use the hand sanitiser available around the centre

Of the centre's cafes and restaurants, 80% have now reopened.

Three sites which are yet to start trading again – Comptoir Libanais, Top Dog and Pizza Express – will reopen this weekend.

KentOnline asked the centre when its £400,000 Garden of England-themed playground will open, but a spokeswoman said "there is no further information to share at this stage".

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