The Brussels shopping centre Docks Bruxsel welcomed a record 5.7 million shoppers in 2021, according to director Mathias Blot.
While the 54% increase in visitors over 2020 could be partly attributed to a lifting of lockdowns, Docks Bruxsel also beat their numbers for 2019, Belga News Agency reports.
There were 3.8 million visitors in 2020 while the pandemic raged, compared to 4.9 million in 2019. The numbers for last year are 17% higher than the pre-pandemic levels.
“As soon as we reopened in 2020, we had normal visitor numbers again, which we had not dared to hope for,” Blot said.
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“In April 2021, people were still shopping by appointment and we saw half the number of visitors. As soon as we were allowed to shop normally again in May, we saw an explosion in visitor numbers and that continued until December.”
Hopeful for the future
Blot attributes the success, which exceeded expectations, to the renewal of the brand offering and to the arrival of shops such as discount chain Action and shoe chain Courir in particular.
The coronavirus crisis helped the shopping centre take root locally, Blot says, adding that he believes the shopping centre's ventilation system was able to reassure visitors concerned about the virus’ circulation.
“We expect to make further progress and reach 6.5 million visitors in 2022, with the opening of the Lego Discovery Centre, exclusively in Belgium,” Blot said.
“We hope to retain our local clientele and welcome a new one to come and spend the day with us.”
In October, the shopping centre celebrated its fifth anniversary.