LEADING THE WAY
A leading outlet specialist with 25 years’ experience in the industry, NEINVER is a Spanish multinational company specialised in managing, developing and investing in commercial and logistics properties. Here, RLI sits down with Carlos González, Managing Director at NEINVER to discuss how the company has maintained its position in these challenging times and what is on the horizon in the coming months.
Founded in 1969, NEINVER is the leading manager of outlet centres in Spain and Poland, and the second largest in Europe and has two outlet proprietary brands: The Style Outlets and FACTORY. Today, including their development pipeline, they manage 18 outlet centres, five retail parks and more than 800 brands in six European countries: France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the Netherlands.
In line with its commitment to sustainability, NEINVER has certified 90 per cent of its retail portfolio in Europe under BREEAM In-Use and under three ISO standards (9001, 14001 and 50001).
In recent years, the company has established alliances with first-class partners and international investors who value the Group’s experience in the sector, their specialised management model and proven track record. This has positioned NEINVER as a strategic partner for managing, developing or acquiring outlet schemes across Europe.
“Despite this being the most challenging year most of us have ever faced, we have been able to advance with key projects such as the construction of Amsterdam The Style Outlets in the Netherlands and the refurbishment of Getafe The Style Outlets in Madrid, following strict safety measures,” explains Carlos González, Managing Director at NEINVER.
Amsterdam The Style Outlets, their first centre in the country, opens on the 26 November and the project is the first outlet development in the Greater Amsterdam area and also the first in the Randstad region, one of the wealthiest, most populated regions of Europe, with over 12 million people living within a 90-minute drive. From the outset, the idea behind the scheme was to create an upscale destination, combining an exclusive commercial mix, varied dining offer with top guest services in an appealing ambience, with a village design inspired by traditional Dutch architecture.
Back in September, NEINVER completed renovation works of Getafe The Style Outlets. This is one of the strongest centres in their portfolio, which continues to record outperforming results year after year. The recently finished renovation ensures that the new asset remains competitive, modern and value-adding. They have introduced an exciting line-up of 15 new brands and 10 store extensions, new relaxation areas and new spaces that are both more comfortable and attractive to visitors.
“This year we also completed the restyling works at Vicolungo The Style Outlets in Italy, including the renovation of the main square, the entrances, the facades, the street furniture and the canopies. Moreover, we developed new spaces for children such as an indoor play area with professional educators and the ‘Kinder Joy of Moving Park’, a unique playground occupying 1,700sq m that was born from a collaboration between the Municipality of Vicolungo and the Ferrero Group,” explains González.
Innovation, specialisation and flexibility have always been NEINVER characteristics and these have become even more important in recent times. Its innovative DNA and continuous adaptation to market needs are important values in an industry that is changing so quickly. In seeing how the current social distancing measures, travel limitations and restrictions in place are rapidly changing consumption patterns and retailers’ strategies, the company are thinking creatively to resolve each challenge by continuing to be customer-centric, understanding brands’ needs, maximising value for their investment partners and creating long-term value for the communities in which they operate.
Social media and other digital channels have become key channels in their strategy to connect and engage with consumers and to build relationships that go beyond visits to the centres. This year the business has bolstered its strategy across these channels and during lockdown they have discovered they were an extremely useful platform to connect with shoppers, build brands and inspire engagement, even when people could not visit their centres. “In past years, we have made a significant investment in digital technology to reach more consumers in an efficient way. We have been strengthening our ‘phygital’ approach, aimed at providing a consistent, immediate and interactive customer experience to our visitors in all channels,” González says.
Building and maintaining strong and mutually beneficial partnerships with brands in its portfolio has always been a part of the NEINVER offer. Throughout the years, we have developed a long-term commitment and mutually beneficial relationship with our brand partners, understanding and supporting their strategies and managing their overstock, based on flexible and individual solutions. This crisis has highlighted how important this relationship between retail tenants and operators is.
“Our strategy is to continue increasing our assets’ value proposition and strengthen the centres as destinations whilst taking into the context we are living. In recent months, consumer behaviour has changed rapidly and the shopping experience now combines three elements: safety, product and price. Nowadays, as often happens during crises and downturns in consumption, purchases tend to be more rational. Shoppers look for promotions and discounts that allow them to make the most of their money. On the brand side, retailers have accumulated excess inventory during the pandemic, so the outlet channel becomes a vital part of their distribution strategy. In this context, our main challenges will be supporting brands’ strategies and daily needs with individual and flexible solutions and making sure that consumers feel confident about coming to our centres under the strictest safety measures,” González explains.
“The impact of the pandemic on the future physical retail landscape remains to be seen, but it is likely that many of the trends we have witnessed this year are here to stay. Preparing for the future will require having the necessary channels in place to embrace the new ways of shopping, listening to our consumers, establishing a deep connection with them and having an agile structure that allows for quick adaptations to change,” concludes González.