Friday, 1 July 2011

Mulberry fashion chief Roger Saul designs a new start for Somerset town

Profile image for Western Daily PressBy Western Daily Press

Entrepeneur Roger Saul, who founded fashion brand Mulberry 40 years ago, is launching a £10 million regeneration scheme at Shepton Mallet which could create hundreds of jobs and bring millions of pounds into the local economy.

The emporium opens with a grand sale on the weekend of July 23 and 24, offering designer brand bargains at up to 80 per cent off.
It is expected to breathe new life into the town – after it was featured in BBC series Turn Back Time, which saw modern shopkeepers and their families use its neglected market square in an experiment to try and turn back time for the British High Street.
Mr Saul said: “Our overall vision is for a new retail experience bringing together the very best designer brands set in regenerated historic buildings, with end of line sales and last season one-offs. Dedicated stores will sit side-by-side with pop-up shops and design events.”
Clarks Shoe company opened the first purpose-built outlet centre in the UK when it opened Clarks Village at nearby Street in 1993. It attracts visitors from all over the world, including China.
Mr Saul said his own venture was “a new concept for the UK”.
He added: “No-one has yet merged the idea of a discount designer brand village with other lifestyle elements such as entertainment, accommodation, offices, conference facilities and gardens in a rural location as well as offering the most delicious and original pop-up dining experience. All this with strong sustainable credentials.
“Our aim is to match the best spend per visit for any discount designer brand shopping centre in the country.”
Kilver Court already attracts thousands of visitors a year. On the site is the Mulberry Factory Shop, the Sharpham Park organic farm shop and the Kilver Court Gardens and nursery.
Once the headquarters of the Showerings drinks company, Kilver Court has a history of commercially successful restoration and re-use of some existing buildings.
Mr Saul is committed to making the development as sustainable as possible and craftspeople have restored the historic buildings on the once run-down site.
“In today’s climate the creative re-use of existing structures and buildings, rather than relying on new build is an important element of sustainability, and this is a key factor at Kilver Court,” he said.

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