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Shepton Mallet to become fashion hotspot for designer shopping

By Shepton Mallet Journal  |  Posted: July 12, 2012

Ian Jarmaine

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Five top designer brands open new stores in Shepton Mallet this weekend.

Jack Wills, Toast, LK Bennett, Jane Clayton and Hawick Cashmere are opening in Silk Lane, a range of regenerated silk textile mills at Kilver Court tomorrow.

The new arrivals join the Aubin and Wills, Sharpham Park and Mulberry factory shops at the Kilver Court site.

The new outlets could mark out the town as a shopping destination for the fashion conscious, with an influx of well-heeled shoppers bringing a much needed boost to the local economy.

And this week Shepton Chamber of Commerce's Ian Jarmaine said: "We welcome any inward investment into the town and wish them every success."

More than £2 million has gone directly back into Shepton Mallet's economy since the Kilver Court outlet village opened.

Kilver Court's Designer Emporium opened a year ago and has since created 40 jobs and attracted 150,000 shoppers. The site recorded revenue sales of over £8 million in the first year and £3.25 million has been invested in its development.

The big draw for many young shoppers is the arrival of Jack Wills.

Aimed at university students and teenagers, Jack Wills takes it's inspiration from military history, sporting traditions and country living. The brand has been a huge hit with teenagers attracted by the sharp college styling.

A spokesman for the brand said: "Jack Wills are over the moon and thrilled to be part of Kilver Court".

Shepton Mallet is quietly becoming a target location for big clothing chains, with New Look, Laura Ashley and Edinburgh Woollen Mill all flourishing in the town.

The developments at Kilver Court take shopping opportunities for the fashion conscious to another level.

Liz Young, retail director for Hawick Cashmere, said: "We were impressed with the area and the layout at Kilver Court. We think the customers there will be Hawick Cashmere customers. It's an exciting new venture for us."

And the expansion is not just about fashion. Bertie Clayton of the Somerset-based interior design company Jane Clayton said: "We will be selling top-end designer fabrics at affordable prices.

"We are bringing a number of designer fabric and wallpaper brands to Kilver Court, including Osborne and Little and wallpaper from Cole and Son as well as a great range of cushions and accessories made in our workroom in Midsomer Norton. We will also be offering a soft furnishing service which will allow customers to have fabrics made up into curtains, blinds and cushions.

"We were attracted by the heritage of the Mulberry name. We know that fabrics were once a popular part of the offer at the Mulberry factory shop, and are delighted to be bringing designer fabrics to Shepton Mallet."

Mulberry founder and owner of Kilver Court Roger Saul is staging a music festival in aid of charity this weekend to celebrate the opening of the new stores at the Kilver Court Designer Village. All profits will go to Concordia, Bristol Old Vic Young Co and The Prince's Trust.

See our What's On pages for more details.

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