Fashionable way to shop.
Though just 20 minutes apart, the North-East's two main factory outlet centres (FOCs) complement each other and provide the region with two first-class facilities says Mike Birkett, associate director at Atisreal's Newcastle office.
Royal Quays in North Tyneside is an attractive destination with a good range of outlets anchored by Marks & Spencer. On my most recent visit just two units appeared un-let, one of them being the former Ben Sherman unit.
Overall, the location is strengthened by the JJB Sports store which is adjacent to the FOC development. Accessibility is the key with the nearby A19 giving a large catchment population within a 30-minute drive time.
A further bonus for the development is the ready supply of overseas shoppers who seem, in some cases, delighted with the prospect of leaving a ferry and driving straight into Royal Quays for some serious shopping.
The development has an attractive, landscaped, central square and attractive canopy-style exterior.
Just 20 minutes south down the A19 via the Tyne Tunnel, the region's other FOC development, Dalton Park, uses a similar canopy arrangement over the open malls making them more weather-proof than Royal Quays. Again, availability looked to be limited, down to just one unit.
Anchored at one end by Next and at the other end by Marks & Spencer, Dalton Park is well located to draw from South Tyneside, Wearside and Teesside.
Larger than Royal Quays it certainly seemed to be drawing customers in judging by the car park, though at the same time, the central mall was not especially busy.
Its appeal as a shopping destination has a unique flavour ( the ability to buy a car.
The Factory Outlet concept is a highly regarded way of selling goods which are usually last season's stock at discounted prices. With some well-known brands and a wide range of goods to choose from the region's Factory Outlet Centres are sure of continuing success.