Claire Smale of Gunwharf Quays gives us an exclusive insight in to the world of outlet shopping

Claire Smale (Credit: Richard Perrin)

Claire Smale (Credit: Richard Perrin) - Credit: Archant

Q and A with the The Marketing Manager of Gunwharf Quays

With the new season in, tell us what we should be looking out for in the stores? This spring/summer season is all about creating a summer garden party look with flirty fabrics and embellished embroidery. Pink is a key colour trend, from pastel shades to bright fuchsia.

Gunwharf Quays predominantly contains outlet stores; what are your top sale shopping tips? The brands at Gunwharf Quays offer at least a third and often up to 70 per cent off regular retail prices, so it’s a great place to treat yourself to some designer pieces; especially key items like a leather tote from Osprey London or Hobbs, or a classic pair of L.K. Bennett shoes. The start of the new season is the perfect excuse to edit your wardrobe, see where the gaps are and add in some new pieces that are right on trend.

Can you give us a preview of future events and new store openings? We’ve got a brand new event taking place on March 27. From 6pm – 9pm we’ll be hosting an evening of pampering, one-off offers from our famous brands, giveaways and top-to-toe indulgence so that ladies can treat themselves to a night out with the girls. Our Treat Yourself & We’ll Treat You evening – in association with – is a definite date for fashion and beauty lovers’ diaries. Guests can register for the event at

We were also thrilled when Carluccio’s recently joined our line-up of harbourside restaurants and we have even more exciting brands coming to the centre this year – watch this space!

What’s the most exciting thing about working in a shopping complex?

Well, for a shopaholic it’s a dream job and I feel privileged to work for a premium retail outlet centre that I’ve loved for many years. One of the special things about Gunwharf Quays is that it’s not a normal shopping centre – it’s a day out destination in a beautiful location. Couple that with the fantastic outlet prices we offer, it really is unique. I also love the variety that comes with working for a centre such as Gunwharf Quays – from liaising with our retailers to meeting guests at our events; no two days are the same.

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And the worst?

The temptation to spend on a daily basis.

What is your favourite store and why?

There really are too many to mention – for ladies fashion and shoes I love L.K. Bennett and have made some amazing purchases including shoes reduced from £195 to £40! I can also be regularly found in Karen Miller and Jaegar along with Swarovski for accessories and Molton Brown and L’Occitane for beauty products.

What three things should visitors make sure they do while they are there?

Pay a visit to customer services where they can advise on the specific offers and events that are running that day across the centre.

Take time to enjoy a meal in one of the harbourside restaurants – I don’t think you can beat the water views while you dine.

Head to Portsmouth’s leading contemporary art gallery. Based in a historic former naval storehouse, Aspex is a hidden gem. It has some fantastic exhibitions as well as art and craft sessions for adults and children.

What do you like to do when you have a day off? I love spending time with my family and friends as well as walking my beautiful black Labrador Barney in the New Forest or around the sea wall in Lymington. In the summer I tend to be out on the water with my other half – although we are so lucky living where we do that we never seem to venture very far. Last year we spent a long weekend in Yarmouth and it was like a mini holiday!