York Designer Outlet is recovering from the pandemic with a raft of new openings and the return of some old favourites.

The McArthurGlen outlet at Fulford has operated for over 20 years and is part of a chain of 25 sites that trade across Europe, plus Vancouver in Canada.

The outlet has some 100 stores, promising discounts of up to 60 per cent, who are supported by a range of restaurants and cafes.

Centre manager Paul Tyler accepts that retail is facing some challenges but says that  although footfall is down on pre-pandemic levels, when shoppers visit, they stay longer and spend more.

Among the recent returnees was popular high street favourite Next, which left the centre during the pandemic. The high street favourite returned to York Designer Outlet over the August Bank Holiday.

York Press: York Designer OutletYork Designer Outlet

And suitcase manufacturer Samsonite is also back, along with Pro Cook, and recent returnee Cath Kidston.

However, the York outlet has suffered the loss of national operators like GAP and Daniel Footwear, who were high street victims of the national lockdowns.

Bose electrical has also departed but family-favourites like M&S are still there and "doing well".

Paul said: "We continue to elevate and evolve the centre and try and bring on new brands. As we have come through the pandemic we have evolved quite a bit over the past few months."

Five Guys burgers and 200 Degrees coffee opened after the lockdowns, adding to their sites in York.

They were joined by Tiger of Sweden, Police and Champion.

More recent openings include Ravensburger, a family-firm which sells thousands of jigsaws, puzzles and trainsets. It works with Swedish toymaker BRIO which promises family fun, learning and togetherness.

Bubble CiTea offers 20 flavours and 12 toppings, served by bubble baristas who promise an authentic Taiwanese experience.

Inter Car Cleaning recently opened in the Grey zone car park at the west entrance. It has been in car washing and valeting for 15 years.

York Press: Centre manager Paul TylerCentre manager Paul Tyler

Soon to open is Café Valeria, a local Italian-style operator which began with a kiosk and will soon have "a full-scale coffee shop."

It will be joined by the Perfume Shop, plus Carvela, selling womens footwear/accessories and handbags.

Fantastica will also offer American-style sweets and candies by the end of this month.

By the end of November, in time for Black Friday, Puma will open a sportswear store.

Hugo Boss will also have a new shop called Hugo next month. Part of the Hugo Boss family, it is aimed at younger people and is more casual.

Trends towards casualwear will continue, says Paul, but sales of formalwear are rising again, as events return and many people "haven't refreshed their wardrobes for a couple of years".

Paul added the outlet has invested outside, creating picnic areas, new seating areas and children's play facilities. The 12th Winter Wonderland with ice rink will open in November.