London Designer Outlet announces new general manager as centre reaches pre-pandemic footfall and sales levels


London Designer Outlet (LDO) in Wembley Park has welcomed the appointment of Daniel Tomkinson, the former Chief Executive of the Covent Garden Market Authority (CGMA), as its new General Manager. The appointment comes as London Designer Outlet, the capital’s leading fashion and lifestyle outlet centre, sees sales approach pre-pandemic levels, having taken on a raft of new brands over the course of the past two years, elevating its premium fashion offer.

At his previous role at CGMA, Tomkinson led the strategic direction of the iconic London horticultural market, driving through a £300 million redevelopment. The industry veteran also has almost a decade’s worth of experience at Savills, where he was Centre Director for the Eden Shopping Centre in High Wycombe and led the 850,000 sq shopping flagship to trading success.

Part of specialist outlet operator and London Designer Outlet’s asset manager Realm’s team, Tomkinson will be responsible for the management of London Designer Outlet and of new retail at Wembley Park, the 85-acre neighbourhood created by award-winning developer Quintain.

In the 18 months since the start of the pandemic, 10 brands including Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Lyle and Scott, and adidas signed leases covering some 61,000 sq ft in London Designer Outlet, reflecting the attractiveness of the centre. With Black Friday and Christmas still to come, the Golden Quarter started with like for like sales at 90% of 2019 levels, and +36.3% on 2020. Growth continues to be driven by large increases in guest spend and average transaction values, +6% and +18% on 2019 respectively since the start of October.

Daniel Tomkinson, General Manager for London Designer Outlet, said: “Having looked after one iconic and historic London landmark, New Covent Garden Market, it is hugely exciting to be a part of the journey of another, Wembley Park, as it develops as one of the capital’s shopping, dining and living hotspots. Having welcomed a suite of new brands with more on the way and trading at an impressive level, London Designer Outlet is building on its credentials as the capital’s leading fashion and lifestyle outlet centre and one of the most successful in the UK, and I am looking forward to being a part of its next chapter.”

Tomkinson will take on his new role from December, as existing General Manager Sue Shepherd leaves the business after eight years – having been General Manager since LDO opened as the capital’s first designer outlet – to set up an executive coaching business supporting senior leaders.

Dan Mason, Managing Director at Realm, said: “Daniel will be an outstanding General Manager for London Designer Outlet, as a strategic leader in retail and because he understands – and shares – Quintain’s vision for Wembley Park. Over the past eight years, from when London Designer Outlet first opened its doors in 2013, we have seen the centre continue to grow and develop, with 22 consecutive quarters of year-on-year growth before the pandemic, and an improved brand mix. One of Europe’s few urban outlet centres with a mix of retail, F&B, leisure and events uses, London Designer Outlet has and will always be at the forefront of trends in retail.”

London Designer Outlet has some 265,000 sq ft of retail and leisure space, including 70 outlet stores, restaurants and coffee shops, and a nine-screen Cineworld. It is one of the most successful mixed-use outlet centres in the UK, with F&B making up more than a quarter of total sales in a reflection of the centre’s success in attracting people to eat, drink, shop and enjoy a day out.

Matt Slade, Retail Director at Quintain, said: “Daniel’s experience in iconic destinations as well as his passion for our vision of creating a 15-Minute Neighbourhood with brilliant retail amenities makes him the perfect fit for London Designer Outlet, where he will continue to work day-in and day-out with some of the world’s biggest brands and the innovative independents that feature in Wembley Park. With a track record of innovations and firsts – including being the first outlet in the UK to develop a click-and-reserve service, The LDO Edit, the first shopping centre to offer Dropit, and welcoming a series of firsts in London and the UK for fashion brands – as well as a premium fashion offer that includes Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, Daniel’s leadership of London Designer Outlet is set to continue to ensure the scheme maintains and builds on its excellent track record.”