As one of the major cities in the north of England all the major High Street stores and shops have retail outlets in Liverpool. In keeping with the recent economic development of the city, Liverpool is currently re-developing the Paradise Street area of the city into a new shopping complex. This £920 million project is due to be completed in 2009 and will include a John Lewis department store covering 23,000 square metres. As well as it’s main on-street shopping area, the city has 5 main shopping centres or malls.
The Cavern Walks shopping centre is in the heart of the Cavern district of Liverpool on Mathew Street. This shopping centre is styled as an independent and designer label one; it is here that Vivienne Westwood has an outlet. If you visit this shopping centre you can also see, within it, a replica of the original and famous Cavern Club. Cavern Walks is open Monday to Saturday 10:00 to 17:30 and is closed on Sundays. Met Quarter is the newest shopping centre in Liverpool and is definitely the place to go if you are shopping for clothes. All the smaller, but popular, High Street stores are here for men’s, women’s and children’s fashion. Stores that you’ll find here include: Armani, Hugo Boss, Diesel, All saints, Timberland, Bratz, Animal, Tommy Hilfiger and many more. Located on Whitechapel the centre does not have its own car park. However, there are car parks nearby and it is convenient for all the city centre bus stations. Opening times vary but between 10:00 and 18:00 it’s open every day except Sunday when it’s open 11:00 to 17:00. The area around the old Albert Dock has been transformed in recent years into a World Heritage waterfront and visitor attraction. Home to the Liverpool Tate Gallery the complex also includes bars, restaurants and a trendy shopping area. The Clayton Shopping Centre is on Clayton Square, which is in-between the St John’s shopping centre and Ranelagh Street. This is a combination of High Street store shops and up-market market stalls. Well known shop names here include Virgin Megastore, Boots, Body Shop and Wallis’.
Shopping in stores located on the streets of Liverpool can be challenging. Whilst the main ‘on-street’ shopping is in the area between Lime Street Railway station and the Paradise Street bus station, you can seem to walk miles getting to and from your favourite stores. Bearing in mind the area around the bus station is also the development area, it might be as well to find your favourite stores in the largest of Liverpool’s shopping centres St John’s. Located on St Georges Way in the heart of the city it is open all year round and has 100 retail outlets. Exact opening times vary but the centre is open from 09:00 to 17:30 everyday except Sunday when it’s open from 10:00 to 17:00. As well as fashion stores there are home furnishings, jewellery and cosmetics shops along with a range of cafés and fast-food outlets. The centre has excellent public transport links as well as its own car park.
Liverpool City Council operates 11 permanent markets and occasional Farmers Markets at various locations across Liverpool. The oldest market is the North general market, on Homer Street, which dates back to 1840. This is an outdoor market in the St Martins area and has over 300 stalls. The other main city centre market is held in the precincts of the St Johns shopping centre, as well as having food stalls you can also buy electrical goods, furnishings, kitchenware and clothes here.
Liverpool has three main retail parks outside of the city. These are: Edge Lane, New Mersey and Liver Retail. Whilst the Edge Lane and new Mersey retail parks are thriving the Liver Retail Park has not been so successful in recent years probably due to a new retail park being opened at the nearby Aintree racecourse. The retail parks have a mixture of electrical and electronics stores, furniture, DIY and fashion outlets. There are also leisure facilities attached to them such as restaurants, cinemas, ten-pin bowling and other leisure activities. The city council is not currently planning to allow any further ‘out-of-town’ retail developments.
If you are the sort of person that likes an alternative feel to the shops you use then head for the Quiggins Centre on School Lane, which is on the southern edge of the main on-street shopping area, just below Church Street. The centre is popular with artists and artisans and has a range of specialist shops and boutiques such as: Klobba, Elementz and DeadGoat as well as health and body art stores. The centre is currently under threat of closure which would be a shame as this truly independent collective has 45 businesses and provides employment for some 250 people and offers a completely alternative choice of shops and produce to the normal High Street house-hold names.