ACROSS: When is Amsterdam The Style Outlets due to open?
EDUARDO CEBALLOS: Amsterdam The Style Outlets is scheduled to open on November 26, 2020 – just in time for the Christmas shopping season. Work on the site has continued throughout the pandemic, with adherence to strict safety measures, and the teams have worked hard to stay on course to open the scheme at the end of this year. In fact, the handover of the first units to tenants is progressing well. We are really looking forward to welcoming visitors here from the end of November and to introducing our exceptional The Style Outlets shopping experience to Amsterdam.
ACROSS: What makes the asset outstanding?
CEBALLOS: This upscale destination definitely stands out due to its features as well as a combination of unique elements, including its architectural concept, overall brand mix, type of catchment population, and tourism component, among others.
This is the first outlet development in the Amsterdam metropolitan area, combining a strong catchment area of 12 million people with the proximity of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport and easy access to the Dutch capital (18 minutes by car from the city center) and Haarlem. In essence, we are bringing the outlet offer to the capital, as the center is located next to the Halfweg-Zwanenburg train station, which is two stops away from Amsterdam Central Station. In addition, we are bringing it to the important central Randstad region, where the majority of the Dutch population lives and works. The outlet center will be part of a redeveloped area called SugarCity, a former sugar factory that has become somewhat of a trendy location and is considered to be one of the fastest developing areas in the Netherlands.
ACROSS: How much retail space is available at Amsterdam The Style Outlets?
CEBALLOS: In total, the center will include more than 100 units covering 19,000 square meters of GLA, including some 1,000 square meters of dedicated GLA for the dining offer. It will also include 2,230 parking spaces for cars and 200 for bicycles. With regard to the commercial mix, we are introducing an exciting mix of popular premium brands, complemented by top-level guest services to attract both residents and tourists. Ultimately, shopping at Amsterdam The Style Outlets will be a fresh, exciting, and magical experience. I am convinced that it has all the ingredients needed to become a landmark retail destination in the Netherlands.
ACROSS: What was taken into account with regard to the architecture?
CEBALLOS: The architectural design of the center will be, without a doubt, one of the key ingredients in providing a memorable experience. We are creating a place in which the consumer will feel completely immersed and brands want to be seen. Built in a waterside setting, the village design of the center draws upon the best examples of Dutch architecture and has an important role for vegetation and natural light. Shops feature brick facades and shuttered windows topped by traditional pitched roofs, which are reminiscent of the factory’s original 19th-century warehouses. It is an appealing and inviting architectural setting, one in which visitors can breathe in the local culture of Amsterdam, and that makes it very pleasant and special.
ACROSS: What can you tell us about the tenant mix?
CEBALLOS: This scheme embraces a broad range of top international and Dutch brands – some of which are new to the Dutch outlet market – from designer labels to sports leaders and fashion icons. Amsterdam The Style Outlets will offer a complete and varied commercial mix with approximately 70% international brands and 30% Dutch brands. They will range from premium fashion labels, such as The Kooples, Karl Lagerfeld and Guess to popular sports and lifestyle brands, such as Nike, Adidas, and Puma. The full line-up will be revealed closer to the opening for confidentiality-related reasons.
ACROSS: How challenging has the leasing process been throughout the Covid-19-crisis?
CEBALLOS: The leasing process has gone well, given the current situation, and we expect the center to open with around 75% occupancy. Despite the crisis, outlets are continuing to show resilience and to outperform other sectors. With its excellent location, Amsterdam The Style Outlets will no doubt grow from strength to strength in the years to come, and retailers know this. Our brand partners trust in the center’s strong positives and in Neinver’s expertise and proven track record in the outlet market, which is more important than ever in the current challenging retail landscape. Over the years, we have developed a mutually beneficial relationship with our brand partners; we understand and support their needs and offer them flexible individual solutions.
ACROSS: How many visitors are expected per year, and how has the pandemic affected this expectation?
CEBALLOS: In our experience, well-performing outlet centers in Europe can attract more than two million visitors a year – more than 15% of which may be tourists. The center is due to serve a very densely populated region with high tourist potential. Even though the Covid-19 crisis may affect the number of tourists who visit the center in the short term, Amsterdam The Style Outlets is located in one of the wealthiest and most densely populated regions of Europe, which includes the four largest Dutch cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht).
The pandemic has affected consumer sentiment, obviously, but throughout our portfolio, we have seen recovery. Moreover, outlet centers generally perform well even during periods of economic uncertainty due to the lure of their offer. There is a need for an outlet center in the Greater Amsterdam Area, and we have created an upscale destination with an exciting atmosphere in which our guests will enjoy a fresh and safe shopping experience.
ACROSS: Will the Dutch designer outlet market be saturated following the opening of Amsterdam The Style Outlets?
CEBALLOS: Consumers have embraced the Dutch outlet business, which has enjoyed a growing popularity among local customers and tourists alike. Our research has shown that 52% of people from Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague want outlets in the Greater Amsterdam Area. All existing outlet centers in the Netherlands are located close to the borders or close to the coast, so there was a need for an outlet center in the economic heart of the Netherlands.
The Randstad, particularly Amsterdam, is an exceptional location as it is densely populated and very attractive to tourists. Visits to the area are on the rise, so we believe that this is the right time: We should provide them with high-quality shopping and dining experiences. Outlet density following the opening of Amsterdam The Style Outlets in the Netherlands will be at healthy levels and similar to other European countries, such as France, Spain, and Poland.