Outlets centres continue to outperform
Sales growth at designer outlet centres across Europe has substantially outperformed the region’s non-food retail industry average since 2010, according to Ken Gunn of consultancy FSP Retail, speaking at the ICSC Outlets Connections Plus conference this summer.
This strong performance has encouraged continued investment, such as Simon Property’s recent investment into McArthurGlen, and new investors coming into the market including Resolution Property and Europa Capital.In 2012, over 203,000 square metres of new space opened, making it the sixth best year ever across and the best since 2008.Recent outlet openings in Poland, Russia and Germany have led the way in the expansion of outlets across Europe, accounting for 65% of new floor space last year. Only four schemes opened in mature Western European markets, in Austria, Italy and Sweden.Three outlets have opened in Poland and also in Germany, and two new outlets opened in Russia, both in Moscow.
There are now 205 factory outlets across Europe with a combined total area of 3.3 million square metres of space and retail consultancy FSP Retail estimates that in 2012 turnover amounted to just under €11 billion.And there are more to come, with 2013 and 2014 promising to be strong years with 23 schemes in the pipeline totaling nearly 417,000 square metres.France (5), Germany (4) and Russia (3) lead the way accounting for 57% of new space, with two schemes in UK, two in Denmark and two in Italy. Key schemes include Eifel City, Badmünster Eifel, Germany, Fashion House, Moscow, London Designer Outlet, Manufactura Kiev, One Fashion Outlet, Bratislava and One Nation, Paris.However, with the increase of floor space across Europe and the ratio of residents to outlet space decreasing, there is a real issue for outlet centre owners seeking to manage and grow an outlet effectively, the conference heard.
Looking further afield for outlet opportunities
Some established outlet retailers are looking further afield. For Value Retail, the future is China, according to John Quinn, Director of Value Retail Germany. Value Retail is currently building a 22,000 square metre facility in Suzhou, which is just 23 minutes by high-speed train from Shanghai. Three additional Chinese projects are in the planning and one will be announced shortly.The company has considered opportunities in Central Eastern Europe, Russia and Turkey but “the time isn’t right for these countries,” said Quinn.For McArthurGlen there are still opportunities in the region. According to Thomas Immelmann, McArthurGlen Country Manager: “Central Europe is not that mature and that was one of the reasons we recently opened our outlet in Neumünster We are also planning several extensions at other existing outlets and have successfully tendered for a project in western Germany, at Remscheid in the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia. We still believe in a growing Europe but there are other places to develop too.” In 2014, McArthurGlen will open a new project in Vancouver, the company’s first centre outside Europe and a joint project with Vancouver Airport Authority. The site is three minutes from the airport by SkyTrain and 30 minutes from downtown. The centre will offer up to 200,000 square feet of retail space in the first phase and 370,000 square feet when all phases are open.Vancouver International Airport is Canada’s second busiest, and acts as a gateway to Asia with 57 direct flights each week to Asia Pacific. The outlet will attract both local and international tourists.
Industry analyst, Rear Admiral Chris Parry, advised not looking at countries but provinces. “Only four out of twenty eight Indian provinces are showing growth rates. It’s the same in China; you must research hard the province you are considering. Look at the sub BRIC countries, those coming up from behind in the fast lane such as Vietnam and Mongolia. The Philippines is also coming down the track, Chile and Mexico and underrated, and the race is really on for Panama.”Africa should also be on the industry’s long-term radar, added Parry.“There it’s all about commodities and not much about production, but two countries also worth looking at are Malaysia and Indonesia, again identifying the individual provinces.”