Forget the screens, shoppers get a five-star experience at Victoria Quarter

SHOPPING ONLINE might find you a Black Friday or Cyber Monday bargain, but customers visiting the Victoria Quarter in Yorkshire will get the full five-star luxury experience, according to the centre director.

The upmarket retail destination in Leeds brought in experts from a Knightsbridge company called Totally Indispensable to deliver a staff training programme designed for five-star hotels.

John Bade, who manages the centre on behalf of owner Hammerson, told The Yorkshire Post that he wants to stay one step ahead in the service industry by offering shoppers greater engagement, more knowledge of the brands they are buying into and “more of a customer-friendly and very personal experience”.

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Many of the managers from the centre’s 76 stores took part in the programme, he said.

The big challenge facing retailers with expensive rents is that customers can often find products cheaper online.

But Mr Bade said quality of service will persuade people to venture out to do their shopping.

He added: “An old cliche, but shopping is the thrill of the hunt and a shopping experience is more of a leisure experience.”

He said the Victoria Quarter has had a good start to the Christmas shopping season, with steady growth over the last four or five weeks.

Harvey Nicholas has been a stalwart of the centre, opening its doors 18 years ago. It is the group’s best-performing store by square footage.