SHOPPERS returned to Cheshire Oaks in their thousands today.
Business has been brisk at Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet with shoppers returning in droves as lockdown measures are relaxed in England and Wales.
There were queues for several of the stores, with the Nike shop proving to be one of the most popular destinations for shoppers.
General manager Kenny Murray said: "It's nice to be back open again. The sun was shining this morning and I think people were just desperate to get back to physical retail stores as they've done today.
"It's been very busy already, people were queuing for their Nikes at half past seven this morning. The reaction from people this morning has been fantastic.
"This morning it was very much fashion shoppers, with sportswear retailers and beauty-wear brands doing exceptionally well. As were Clarks because, of course, kids don't stop growing during lockdown.
There were lots of parents getting their kids in and getting them measured and ready to go back to school."
He added: "Our restaurants are also open, only external not internal, but the sun was shining today so customers were able to sit outside in the sun and have something to eat.
He said that although people had been turning to online shopping during lockdown, it was clear that people had a desire to go shopping in person.
He added: "Online is fantastic for the convenience, but people love the experience of going shopping. They love the opportunity to get out and about. You only need to see how much people are clearly enjoying themselves today. They are able to go into stores, to interact with other people and store staff, and they are able to touch, feel and look at the product which of course they can't do online."
There are still lots of safety measures in place, with the team at Cheshire Oaks working all through lockdown to get things ready to reopen.
Mr Murray added that shoppers can find out how busy it is by visiting the Cheshire Oaks website to best decide when to visit. You can even book an appointment or join a virtual queue at your favourite store.
He said: "It's been going on since lockdown one. We learnt a lot last year around covid and the way we operate the business. We've very much carried on with the good work we did last year and we've looked then at how we can evolve that. The key thing for us is about creating an environment where people feel safe and secure - the wellbeing of our guests and employees is of the upmost importance."
He added: "In terms of people coming to visit we would recommend that they take a look at the website first, to see when it is busy or quiet, to make sure they can have the best experience."