Roger Saul's Kilver Court to close, Mulberry founder's vision is Covid casualty
The Somerset designer shopping village and gardens founded and run by Roger Saul and his family will become another Covid casualty with the Mulberry founder having sold the freehold.
Stores there include Joseph, Whistles, Hackett, Cole Haan, Winser London and Cefinn, among others.
The Saul family has owned the Shepton Mallet location for 25 years after buying it seven years before this exit from the brand. It hosted the first Mulberry factory shop in 1996 and after the opening of the shopping village, it had become a popular tourist destination in the area. It previously attracted around 100,000 visitors a year to the village and surrounding gardens.
In a prepared statement, the family said: “We are enormously proud of the efforts that our team and our brand partners have put in over the years to help us create such a special destination. We have restored and developed the gardens, opened multiple designer brand stores, held hundreds of very special weddings, and offered our local, national and international audience of customers a unique chance to shop and eat at what has become an award-winning destination.
“However, with all the challenges of the last 18 months that every one of us have felt so acutely, we have made the difficult decision that the time is right for us to hand the reins of Kilver Court to someone new.”
There’s no news on who’s bought the freehold and what the new owner’s plans are. But we do know that the Mulberry, Toast and Yves Delorme stores will continue to operate. Unfortunately, the remaining businesses that directly operate on the site — the Great House, Fashion Emporium, Plant Nursery and Garden Entry, and Garden Kitchen Restaurant — will all close in a couple of weeks’ time.
Repeated lockdowns and other restrictions over the past 18 months have devastated many retail destinations with smaller locations suffering disproportionately. And those that rely on steady tourist flows have taken an extra hit with travel restrictions on domestic tourists and the almost complete absence of foreign visitors damaging what was once a major revenue stream.
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