Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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International Outlets

A Bright Future Ahead

In a world that has undergone near constant change in the past few years, the outlet sector has remained resilient and it now appears to be flourishing in a new retail landscape. Over the coming pages we hear from a selection of company leaders who offer their thoughts on the industry at large and what lies ahead for the outlet sector.

Brendon O’Reilly, General Manager – Liebrecht & wooD Romania and FASHION HOUSE Group

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Today, the outlet industry is a vital element of the global trade landscape. In recent years, this sector has seen a spectacular increase in popularity and, from an exclusive destination for discount buyers, has become a strategic retail model adopted by both consumers and brands.

One of the key factors in the current success of the outlet industry is the ability to adapt to economic changes. In times of financial uncertainty, consumers turn more to outlets, where they know they can find products at the best prices and without making any compromise on quality. The outlet model, which emphasises offering famous brands at low costs, has become a smart choice for buyers who manage their budget carefully. Its ability to withstand economic hardship has been particularly evident recently amid global challenges when outlets have demonstrated a remarkable ability to weather recessions.

The success of the outlet industry is not limited locally and we could say it is, in fact, a global phenomenon. Outlet centres are expanding rapidly, adapting to diverse markets and varied consumer preferences and their evolution is truly impressive: let’s take for example our two centres in Romania, FASHION HOUSE Militari and FASHION HOUSE Pallady, which have registered historic increases in the last two years.
Emerging economies are experiencing an impressive increase in the popularity of outlets, reflecting the expansion trend observed in developed markets. The global expansion underlines the universal appeal of the outlet model and its ability to meet the demands of a wide range of consumers.

As the outlet industry continues to thrive, the upcoming trends are sure to influence its course. The outlet industry, far from stagnating, remains dynamic and responsive by anticipating the future of retail, which evolves to meet the ever-changing needs of the modern consumer. They expect more from their shopping experience as time becomes the most precious resource in their lives. In turn, industry players need to adapt and offer more attractive stores and spaces, expanded entertainment options and improved customer service.

Eduardo Ceballos, Asset Management Director – NEINVER

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A crop of strong results in 2023 proved that retail — and especially the outlet sector, where NEINVER continues to break new ground — remains a sound investment, able to grow and thrive even in a tough macroeconomic climate. Month by month, we saw growth in sales and increased footfall, aided by a renewed enthusiasm for brick-and-mortar stores and an uptick in tourism. As a result, demand for outlet units rose, particularly among brands looking to make their debut in the sector. As we approach the end of Q1 2024, inflation appears to be easing and there is a general expectation that interest rates will soon start to come down. All of this gives us great cause for optimism as we look to the months ahead.

Nonetheless, if we want to keep growing and retaining solid results, we must meet consumers where they are today. That means responding to an ever more discerning buyer, keen to engage with his or her favourite brands through an interplay of channels. One of the greatest challenges ahead is learning to seize every opportunity to strengthen that bond, creating a relationship built on delight, engagement and ongoing loyalty. Both digitalisation and big data will continue to play a key role in this process, providing non-intrusive insights into consumer behaviour in real time, while empowering brands and retailers to make smarter, swifter and more agile business decisions. The use of artificial intelligence across a number of business areas will be a major theme. More and more companies will introduce AI to boost productivity, reduce operating costs and elevate the customer experience. Here at NEINVER, we will continue to augment and refine our consumer analytics as a key tool for data-driven decision-making. CLUBLifestylers, our flagship loyalty programme, already links consumer profiles and sales data in real time and we’re always working to enhance its value.

An outlet centre is no longer just a place to shop but an immersive visitor experience: a place to escape, recharge and discover something new and different. Consumers today are looking to uphold their way of life and our value proposition does just that: we offer a selection of the best brands at the best prices, as well as an ever-increasing range of food and leisure options, a proposition that not only increases visitor dwell time, but that also makes our centres go-to family leisure destinations in their own right. If anything has changed in recent years it’s that price is no longer the be-all and end-all for our customers. From now on, “experience” will be the mantra the retail sector lives by. We will see more owners and managers adopting innovative strategies to recast the visitor experience, from brand diversification to a refreshed F&B offer, new leisure and entertainment concepts and refurbishment projects to inject an invigorating dose of modernity and style.

In parallel, sustainability is an increasingly central concern for both asset managers and investors and will continue to shape the paradigm for our sector moving forward.

Dan Mason, Managing Director – Realm

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The onset of Spring sees outlets burst into bloom and 2024 is shaping up to be another year of retailers investing in their outlet presence. We’re seeing more brands upgrading their store fit-outs to create an elevated customer experience, introducing digital screens, enhanced lighting and more complementary services. As this ‘premiumisation’ of outlets continues, the distinctions between full price and outlet stores are becoming less and less obvious and this benefits both shoppers (who get more aspiration) and brands (who retain more control).
This Spring, we’ll also see a continuation of the rightsizing that began in 2022 when brands were able to take a long hard look at their footprints and align their supply chain and merchandising with other operational decisions. Online fulfilment, click and collect, dedicated areas for product and social media photography are all influencing the latest store layouts.

Today’s first-time outlet visitors are lucky to be able to experience this latest iteration – this is ‘peak’ outlet and customers are certainly lapping it up, proven by sales and footfall data and importantly reflected in growing social media followings and reviews. This also points to a trend of increasingly younger demographics turning to outlet as a new destination in their shopping repertoire, drawn by quality, value and appeal of discovering unexpected treasures IRL (in real life).

These shifting demographics provide interesting challenges for brand and customer loyalty, as younger shoppers are used to one click, buy-it-now convenience and browsing with a smartphone in hand. More established outlet shoppers however have learned to be more forgiving if they can’t find items in their size. To ensure the seamless acquisition of these more youthful shoppers and not disappoint them, an outlet store needs to think of itself as a ‘brand’ store first and foremost. When seen in this light, stocking a few signature lines at full-price from the latest season becomes a service-based decision. However, it needs restraint as it is vital that outlets do not lose their value proposition and the amount of space being offered to full price (if planning allows) must be carefully balanced.

It is clear to see how outlet schemes over time have drawn from other customer-focused industries such as tourism, hospitality, leisure and entertainment. These influences have made outlets far more vibrant than their more sterile predecessors. Factor in their long-running commitment to ESG and sustainability, and it is fair to say outlets are only going to become more relevant in the years to come. Outlet specialists are not just ‘placemaking’ their schemes, they are elevating the ‘full day out’ outlet experience into an aspirational lifestyle choice – not something you ‘do’ but something you ‘live’.

Real estate investors are increasingly drawn to this developed asset class with its abundance of data and extremely proactive asset management. Outlets are now a sophisticated platform – a gateway to future growth for brands. Sharing this opportunity is where owners will generate returns but schemes will increasingly require skilful operation, no matter what the season.

Ian Sanderson, CEO – SLR Outlets

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The outlet sector has had a sustained period of growth well ahead of regular high street retail and it is now clearly a different, stronger sector. Sales densities are significantly higher.

Since 2019, before the pandemic, the total spent on clothing and footwear in the UK has grown by only two per cent (source UK.GOV ONS). By comparison the outlet sector has grown by 12-15 per cent and as high as 26 per cent.

Outlets are, effectively, leisure experiences with the retail being their primary leisure attraction. They offer guests an integrated leisure experience, with new experiences being added frequently, making outlets highly desirable destinations.

The competition for outlets is not high street shopping, but days out, leisure destinations, walks in the country or a day on the beach, all of which are wonderful but never offer everything guests want. A well-managed outlet offers a variety of attractions in one clean, safe environment which competes powerfully with other destinations.

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Curated and managed well, outlets know their various groups of guests and cater individually for them, from women in their 30s coming as couples for a day out to families on the weekend. They create events, ensure that there are always new brands, stock, restaurants, menus and entertainment on offer.

The outlet industry is perfecting digital targeting; knowing exactly what brands and experiences each person wants and tailors the marketing programme and comms accordingly.

This is paying dividends, guests have recognised that they can find everything they want in a beautiful environment with superfast Wi-Fi with something to surprise and delight them every time.

SLR Outlets specialises in developing and managing outlets with leisure, because they know that this accelerates growth in footfall, turnover, dwell time and density, giving the guests a fuller, more complete and enjoyable experience. Springfields in Lincolnshire is a prime example with its guests citing the integrated leisure and 25 acres of stunning free gardens as key reasons to visit as part of the overall outlet experience.

Technology is essential, AI is at work linking guests, retailers, events, leisure and marketing. Fully responsive apps and websites drive loyalty, footfall and sales.

Value-for-money is a key driver today and fits well with the outlet proposition, but guests still want the full experience. The better the overall experience, the longer they stay and the more they shop.

Otto Ambagtsheer, CEO – VIA Outlets

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In 2023, the world faced another period of economic and geopolitical uncertainty. During these challenging times, we saw the outlet industry deliver again strong results. At VIA Outlets, we had another record-breaking year in 2023 as we reached €1.36bn in brand sales while footfall climbed 7.5 per cent vs. 2022. Although there will be more changes ahead in the retail industry, we also see opportunities.
It’s no secret that e-commerce has continued to grow in the past 10 years. Particularly during pandemic lockdowns, online shopping took off and consumers are accustomed to fast deliveries, a seamless user experience, access to a variety of products and more. The outlet industry has experimented with digital shopping, such as virtual shopping via WhatsApp, but we see opportunities to take bigger steps. One of our most innovative projects in 2023 was the launch of our e-commerce pilot platform at Batavia Stad Fashion Outlet. Not only have we expanded the reach of our centre and strengthened our bond with our guests, but we are giving our channel agnostic guests more ways to connect with brands they love.

With so much choice at consumers’ fingertips, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The physical shopping experience remains paramount for European outlet centres and we predict there will be further investment in enhancing these spaces. It’s about enhancing the guest experience and offering newness, which is at the core of our ‘3R’ strategy of remerchandising, remodelling and remarketing. One of the most significant ways we will invest in newness in 2024 is with two new extension projects, at Landquart Fashion Outlet in Switzerland and Vila do Conde Porto Fashion Outlet in Portugal, which will begin in the coming months.

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The importance of sustainability remains a top priority for many businesses. We have established clear commitments and goals in this area and today we see even more attention directed towards the Social “S” element of ESG. There are many ways to put people first. For example, we support our brand partners by providing their store teams with tailor-made trainings. We recently launched a new tool, MobieTrain, to empower store staff to take their retail career to the next level and boost their customer service skills. We also create more engaging places to work with our staff parties. Towards both our brand partners and our guests, we share our commitment to Diversity & Inclusion and raise more awareness about this important topic. Last year we celebrated Pride Month across all 11 of our centres with our ‘BE PROUD. BE YOU.’ exhibitions, which showcased unique commissioned artwork from local artists connected to the LGBTQIA+ community.

We stay closely connected with our brand partners and our guests, but to achieve this data is key. One way businesses learn more about their audiences is through third-party cookies. However, this year Google will block third-party cookies targeting its Chrome users, which puts the spotlight on access to first-party data. To surprise and delight guests and exceed their expectations, collecting this data will be top of mind across all industries. We already have a well-established system in place for this through our Fashion Club loyalty programme. While respecting GDPR requirements, we understand our guests and their purchasing behaviours and can share high-level information with our brand partners. Using these insights, brands can better shape their focus and perhaps even adjust their approach.

“Omni-channel Experiences”, “First-Party Data” and “Sustainability” – these are not just corporate buzzwords. These are important topics that the outlet industry will need to tackle head on to stay relevant, meet business goals and ultimately keep pace with what matters to consumers.

A Formula for Success

International outlet centres are today recognised as a pivotal part of a retailer’s sales strategy, as it offers brands the unique opportunity market segments they hadn’t previously and potentially achieve additional revenue. Over the coming pages, RLI will highlight a wide selection of global outlet schemes that have drawn in the crowds in recent months and put the focus on those developments that will aim to attract people in the future.

Retail outlet centres, known for their brand-lead discount store formats and offers, have seen a significant leap in retail and leisure brand growth in the past year, according to a newly-released industry report. The report, entitled the ‘Ken Gunn European Outlet Industry Review’ (EOIR), produced by long-time respected sector analyst Ken Gunn, calculates turnover for the sector at €21bn, which is some 13 per cent higher than 2019 (the last comparable pre-Covid point).

While this report may only cover the European market, the schemes that have recently opened (and those in the pipeline) heavily suggest this trend is a worldwide one, read on to discover some of the best outlet schemes around the world and why this is a sector that has a bright future ahead.

Outlet Centres Around the World

Developer Tanger Outlets, a leading operator of upscale, open-air shopping centres launched its 37th outlet shopping centre, Tanger Outlets Nashville on 27 October last year. The 290,000sq ft open-air shopping centre, located in southeast Nashville, Tennessee, is the first outlet centre and one of the few major shopping centres in the US to break ground and deliver to the market since 2019. The centre features a transformational design intended to foster onsite experience and consumer engagement, as well as to facilitate product interaction and pickup. This consumer-informed design and an in-demand location – in one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country – have helped Tanger Nashville secure leases for 96.5 per cent of its retail and restaurant space. These leases include a distinctive assortment of brands that reflect Tanger’s commitment to diversify and enhance the shopping experience. Tanger Nashville will serve locals and visitors to the greater Nashville community with 60 retail stores across seven buildings and The Green, a central outdoor community space for programming and activations. The centre’s dynamic and diverse retail mix includes sought-after lifestyle brands and global designers across a range of categories, including fashion apparel and footwear, accessories and jewellery, athletic and athleisure wear, home furnishings, cosmetics and gifts. Guests will also be able to enjoy locally and nationally acclaimed food and beverage options, including sit down restaurants and quick-service offerings. Nearly one quarter of the assortment at Tanger Nashville are brands that are either new to Tanger’s portfolio or first to the outlet channel, including several digitally native brands and iconic Nashville eateries.

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Opening in September 2024 in New York, Belmont Park Village is the latest addition to The Bicester Collection family of luxury shopping destinations. The Village will bring The Bicester Collection’s unique model of experiential retail, clienteling, five-star service, merchandising approach and discerning customer acquisition, to the US. Under construction by developer by Value Retail, the 340,000sq ft retail complex is the grand vision of Scott Malkin, Founder and Chairman of the company. Belmont Park Village, the first North American outpost of the collection, expects to house around 160 boutiques when construction is completed. Set to be home to beautifully landscaped open-air streets, the design of Belmont Park Village will evoke the classic and timeless ambience of New York. Boutiques of the world’s leading fashion and lifestyle brands and New York favourites will offer guests exceptional value all year round. Together with world-renowned restaurants and cafés and a suite of five-star guest services, the Village will offer an unforgettable day-out experience. Belmont Park Village will form the beating heart of the Belmont Park campus, built for entertainment, sport, music, dining and shopping. The campus includes the historic Belmont Park racecourse and UBS Arena.

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Back in October 2022, Simon and Mitsubishi Estate Simon, a joint venture between Mitsubishi Estate Group and Simon, launched Fukaya-Hanazono Premium Outlets, the tenth Premium Outlet centre in Japan and the first new location in Japan in 10 years, located approximately 45 miles northwest of Tokyo. Building on the success of Gotemba and Rinku Premium Outlets and the other seven properties in Japan, Fukaya-Hanazono Premium Outlets features 137 brand name stores across 296,000sq ft of space. Of the stores, twenty-four have launched their first outlet centre location worldwide or their first in Japan. The centre also features an impressive food hall design and several new restaurant concepts consisting of Asian, Western and local Japanese food and beverage options. Fukaya-Hanazono Premium Outlets was built to a modern contemporary architectural design which complements the landscape of the local area, including the red-brick and wood finish that is local to Fukaya City. It is also home to Japan’s first Asobo! Garigari-kun children’s attraction and features artwork from the collection of the Chokoku-no-Mori Art Foundation as well as wall art drawn by artists, on site, providing a unique experience for shoppers.
The leading international luxury designer destination Florentia Village recorded exceptional growth in China last year, with the first three quarters of 2023 seeing a year-on-year increase over 50 per cent in both sales and footfall. Founded by Italian real estate development group RDM in 2011, the luxury Village attracts more than 20 million visitors annually with its carefully curated selection of over 300 designer brands and 1,300 stores across seven cities. Within its portfolio, the Florentia Village Chengdu is planning to open its third phase in mid-2024, bringing a new influx of international brands to Sichuan’s capital as it continues to lead the industry in the region.

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Arriving late this year by developer Auckland Airport, Mānawa Bay Premium Outlets in New Zealand will be a fashion-led offering, with space to connect customers to over 100 of the best international and local brands, curating an exciting, rewarding and seamless experience in a unique New Zealand way. Mānawa Bay has been designed to set a new benchmark for outlet shopping in New Zealand. Mānawa Bay will be a purpose-built destination focused on delivering a customer-led experience bringing the best fashion, athleisure, lifestyle and homeware brands together under one roof. Nestled on the water’s edge overlooking the mangroves, Mānawa Bay will offer great shopping, unique park-like grounds and outdoor spaces within its estuary location.

TORG International will collaborate with Start Concept on leasing the first outlet in Brussels. Construction of the entire project is well advanced with an opening planned for September 2024 and the project will be called Tubize Outlet Mall. The 15,300sq m outlet will be located in the heart of Belgium, 25 minutes South West of the city of Brussels. It will be part of a new mixed-use neighbourhood development, the so-called “Confluents” including residential, leisure, and diversified gastronomy. Located on a former industrial site of over 80ha, TOM will benefit from one of the most densely populated catchments in Europe with over seven million people living within 60 minutes as well as an above average purchasing power. It aims to attract visitors from Flanders, Wallon Brabant, and Hainaut. On leasing the outlet, TORG International will collaborate with Start Concepts.

Opened in April last year, the 27th project of McArthurGlen is the first and only luxury Designer Outlet to the west of Paris. Located near Monet’s Giverny, one of the most prestigious cultural and tourist sites in France, and just 45 minutes by car from the French capital, their newest Designer Outlet has become a key attraction for its fashionable local population and for the 40 million tourists who visit Paris every year. With 21,500sq m of contemporary retail space, the upcoming centre has been thoughtfully designed to bring together international fashion, local culture and artisanal design. The centre will also be home to an artisan village, the Maison des Métiers d’Art, an immersive destination dedicated to promoting and showcasing the very best of Norman and French craftsmanship. McArthurGlen has partnered with celebrated designer, Mathieu Lehanneur, to create the architectural concept for the space. The Maison des Métiers d’Art has been developed in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (The CCI) and the Chamber of Crafts and Artisanship of the Eure (The CMA).
Opening in September 2024 by developers Georgian Outlets & Resort Group (GORG) and The Outlet Resource Group (TORG), Tbilisi Outlet Village is set to redefine the shopping landscape in Georgia, offering a unique mix of high-end international designer labels. Alongside these brands, they are proud to introduce first-to-market names, ensuring fresh and diverse shopping experience. With 70% of our space leased six months before opening, our curated selection includes major sportswear labels, popular lifestyle and fashion brands and the introduction of Georgian and international culinary delights. Phase one of Tbilisi Outlet Village will consist of 12,500sq m GLA across 70 units and will bring together a well curated mix of brands including well-known designer labels from Europe, the US and Georgia as well as mainstream fashion and major sportswear brands. A strong gastronomic offer will be of particular focus given the country’s food culture and its 8,000-year-old history in winemaking. Phase two with 50 additional units is scheduled to follow within three years of the opening of Phase one to bring the project to a total of 20,000sq m GLA and 120 units.

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Scalo Milano Outlet & More, inaugurated in October 2016, is in Locate Triulzi, just 15 minutes from Milan’s city centre and it brings together over 150 outlets between Design, Fashion and Food in a dynamic and contemporary place. After the first two operating years, in 2018 the owner Lonati Group and its asset & property management arm Locate District Spa appointed global retail architect Design International and shared their long-term vision to make of Scalo Milano much more than a classic designer outlet. This latest €30M extension project, already under construction and due to open this summer, is being built over three levels. The ground and the first are dedicated to mono-brand retail units and casual dining restaurants, while the second floor will feature a co-working area, directly accessible from a new plaza and the already existing multi-storey parking.

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The construction of Designer Outlet Kraków is at an advanced stage, with the building reaching the open shell stage, whilst the underground works, including the construction of the car park, has already been completed. Located in Kraków’s city centre at one of the most popular arteries in the city, Designer Outlet Kraków will benefit from a catchment area of almost five million inhabitants and a great tourism potential. The scheme has been under construction since last October, when representatives of KG Group and ROS Retail Outlet Shopping signed the foundation act. On a gross lettable area of 20,000sq m, Designer Outlet Kraków will be home to more than 100 stores with recognised fashion and lifestyle brands, 30-70 per cent off, all year round. The centre will become a shopping destination and a meeting place for the whole family where up to ten restaurants and cafés will offer a wide variety of cuisines. The outlet will also stand out for its unique design with interiors infused with natural light coming through skylights. Wide corridors with relaxation areas will make the centre a welcoming spot for shopping and leisure. After full completion, Designer Outlet Kraków will be BREEAM certified and the opening is scheduled for spring 2025.

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FASHION HOUSE Group, the operator of the only two professional outlet centres in Romania have started construction works on the second phase of the second Outlet Centre in the local portfolio, FASHION HOUSE Pallady, which will open its doors on 25 June 2024. The expansion project will cover in phase two an area of 5,727sq m and will benefit from the presence of renowned brands such as Guess, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Under Armour or Sport Vision and others, which will transform FASHION HOUSE Pallady into one of the most sought-after smart shopping and leisure destinations in eastern Bucharest. FASHION HOUSE Pallady currently operates on an area of approximatively 8,000sq m, with phase one hosting dozens of stores of famous brands such as Nike, BSB, Triumph, Lee Cooper, Ecco, Puma, Penti, Sizeer, Tom Tailor or U.S. Polo Assn., restaurants, cafes and a children’s play area.

Fashion Outlet Village is a new retail landmark and unique shopping destination being developed in Sentilj, Slovenia. It is the first outlet shopping mall in Slovenia and is poised to cater to millions of tourists and transit travellers. The project combines outlet shopping with various sports, fashion, leisure, and lifestyle brands and is focused on providing specialised services for both customers and brand partners. It will offer a unique shopping experience that blends sustainability, accessibility, and regional charm. HG Invest, a holding and investment company based in Austria, is developing the project with an estimated investment of €40M. FOC Retail Service, a consulting and centre management company, based in Germany, will manage the outlet village’s operations. The first phase of the mall is set to open in 2025, followed by a second phase at a later date. The upcoming development is anticipated to create several hundred new jobs across its two construction phases.

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NEINVER has put the finishing touches on the revamped F&B Plaza at Viladecans The Style Outlets, the only outlet centre in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area. Aimed at rejuvenating the centre’s main social and leisure zone, the refurbishment has resulted in enhanced terraced dining areas, seating and events spaces, contributing to a more all-round shopping experience. The space, located on the ground floor, is home to leading F&B brands such as Five Guys, Casa Carmen, Grosso Napoletano, Santa Gloria, GreenVita Brunch&Coffee and Udon — all with outdoor seating. Meanwhile, NEINVER’s 20,400sq m Alpes The Style Outlets project, due to open this year, will be nestled in the French Alps near the Swiss border, just a 25-minute drive from Geneva and 45 minutes from Annecy. The centre will offer an exclusive retail mix of sought-after international and renowned national labels. As a result of its spectacular location in the heart of the mountains, it will prominently feature sports and leisure brands. Its “Alpine village” design, totally integrated with the local architecture, with chalet-style shops, combining natural materials such as wood and stone for a contemporary look will bring a compelling retail mix, an appealing and inviting ambience, amenities and services that will ensure a relaxing day-out and provide much more than just shopping.

VIA Outlets, continental Europe’s fastest-ever expanding owner-operator of premium fashion outlets by gross lettable area GLA) over the past decade, saw brand sales soar by over 11.5 per cent to a record €1.36bn in 2023. Footfall across VIA Outlets’ 11 destinations in nine European countries climbed 7.5 per cent compared to 2022, exceeding 30 million visits. Other notable highlights during the year included over 360 remerchandising deals as brands followed consumer spend by gravitating towards outlet centres, including further expansion of internationally recognised brands such as Boss, Puma and Michael Kors across the portfolio. VIA Outlets continues to deliver enhanced guest experiences through its ambitious remodelling programme. In October, the company opened a 4,000sq m GLA extension to Sevilla Fashion Outlet, its largest project completed in 2023, marking the final stage of a €30M scheme that has seen Sevilla Fashion Outlet extensively modernised since its acquisition in 2016. The extension, representing a €17M investment, increases the centre’s prime commercial space to 20,000sq m GLA and has transformed Sevilla Fashion Outlet into the premier outlet destination in western Andalusia. Since the extension opened, Sevilla Fashion Outlet has seen a 29 per cent increase in footfall and achieved its highest ever level of brand sales.

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Malmö Designer Village is predicted to be one of Europe’s best performing outlet destinations for Europe, bringing an unrivalled mix of premium international and new-to-market retail and dining brands to Southern Sweden. When Phase one launches in summer/autumn 2025, Malmö Designer Village will be one of Scandinavia’s largest shopping destinations, and upon completion of Phase two in autumn 2027, it is expected to rank in the top 25 per cent of outlet centres across Europe for visitor numbers. Developer Rioja Estates, with advisors TORG International and KLM Real Estate leading on leasing, has announced that more than 50 per cent of the available space has been committed or is in advanced negotiations. Malmö Designer Village will also provide a varied food and beverage offer, areas dedicated to kids’ play and physical exercise, seasonal events and multisensory elements – offering an all-day destination for the entire family.

Springfields Outlet & Leisure consists of over 50 outlet stores and 25 acres of award winning Festival Gardens and is a leading shopping & leisure destination in the East of England. The centre is charging ahead with an excellent first quarter of 2024. Turnover is up nine per cent vs. 2023 and a massive 28 per cent increase since before the pandemic. These results beat the outlet sector as a whole, which is only up 12-15 per cent since the beginning of the pandemic. This is testament to great brand partnerships and the integrated leisure offer withi the outlet that is set in 25 acres of beautiful gardens. Brands like Skechers, Levi’s, Dune, Osprey London, Radley, Joules and White Stuff all work with Springfields and their laser-sharp digital marketing team to attract the right customers.

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Scotch Corner Designer Village is set to be the leading outlet and leisure destination in the north of England and it will serve an affluent shopper profile with a high volume of residents and tourists in a very accessible location in the UK’s number one tourist region outside London. Being developed by Scotch Corner Richmond LLP and set to open in autumn 2024, the scheme comprises 150,000sq ft of retail space and will feature 80 boutiques, restaurants and cafes in phase one. In addition, the site will be home to the UK’s largest Blue Diamond lifestyle, home and garden, which is already fully let and will encompass 160,000sq ft. The scheme is also a leisure destination with extensive landscaping, unique food offering, children’s and adult activities, restaurants and interactive experiences, dog walking and bike riding routes. The investment in Scotch Corner Designer Village is £100M for the first phase and will feature premium brands and restaurants including adidas, Hugo Boss, Skechers, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Joules, Dune London, Five Guys and wagamama.

Construction is progressing apace at Cotswolds Designer Outlet in the southwest of the UK. One of the few new outlet destinations in development in the UK this year, Cotswolds Designer Outlet is being delivered in two phases creating 185,000sq ft (17,187sq m) of outlet space for 90 high-quality fashion, sport, lifestyle and F&B brands, in a beautifully designed, Cotswolds-inspired setting. Situated in a strategic ‘gateway to the Cotswolds’ location, the new outlet scheme will serve a significant catchment area between Bristol and Birmingham as well as the sizeable – and increasingly international – tourism audience drawn to the endearing charm of the Cotswolds. With less than a year to Phase One opening in Spring 2025, the scheme is already 66 per cent exchanged or in legals. Realm, the outlet specialist leasing and operating the scheme, is targeting a ‘full day out’ offering with a premium guest experience to establish the destination for its affluent regional catchment, as well as tapping into the £3.6bn annual tourism expenditure that the Cotswolds’ historic and cultural attractions generate. Fully funded and being developed by Robert Hitchins Ltd, Cotswolds Designer Outlet is the final piece of a long-term, 300-acre development vision to bring forward retail, F&B, leisure and 1,300 new homes in this unique location.

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Set to open its doors to phase one in 2026 by developer Rioja Estates, Grantham Designer Outlet Village is on course to be a state-of-the-art retail destination that will transform their visitors’ shopping and leisure experience. Grantham Designer Outlet Village will be the UK’s only premium outlet with a visible frontage and direct access from the UK’s 3rd busiest highway (A1). Inspired by the surrounding countryside, their buildings are conceived as traditional forms with contemporary finishes and high-quality shop fronts. The upcoming outlet will offer a uniquely stylish retail and leisure experience for shoppers and tourists alike. Phase one will consist of 89 units with an area of 193,680sq ft; whilst phase two will add a further 94,809sq ft and 48 units.

A choice of dine-in or grab and go eateries, combined with an array of premium fashion and lifestyle brands along with landscaped areas for relaxation and children’s play, will make Grantham Designer Outlet Village the ideal day out destination.

Dubbed as the Heart of the South, Al Khiran was launched in April last year by developer Tamdeen Group as the region’s first hybrid outlet destination with unmatched leisure, sports and entertainment experiences. The mall is the first of the wider destination’s components and introduced the very novel and unconventional concept of merging the traditional shopping experience with outlet shopping and is complimented with unique new to market F&B offering along with a major indoor and outdoor entertainment component. Al Khiran has met shopper’s heightened expectations by offering a combination of high value and dynamic experiences through a mix of conventional shopping, premium outlet, recreational and leisure experiences, unique dining options, cutting-edge entertainment, along with large format events and exhibitions. Al Khiran moreover boasts additional dynamic components alongside its mall attribute with 70,000sq m of fully landscaped park and boardwalk overlooking the largest marina in Kuwait with 900 berths. Within Al Khiran Marina, there sits a special feature of the project, Al Khiran View, which serves as a viewscape and recreational space for visitors including a dedicated running track, an outdoor amphitheatre for year-long events and a children’s play area, all within beautifully landscaped gardens.

The new expansion of the Dubai Outlet Mall has officially been launched. Dubai Outlet Mall, the first value concept mall in the MENA region, has completed its major expansion drive, bringing an additional 3.8 million square feet of space to the outlet — making it the largest outlet mall not only in the region but in the world. The expansion is in line with the brand’s commitment to delivering outstanding experiences to customers and demonstrates its ongoing drive to boost the country’s retail economy. Included within the expansion is, for the first time, a Cinema, as well as the new Drift Zone, a Farmers Market, Lulu Hypermarket and some dining concepts. To accommodate the large influx of people into the mall, the parking space has been increased to house 6,000 cars. The redevelopment of the outlet has been completed by owner Al Ahli Group.

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