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Mario Schwann, General Manager of Designer Outlet Parndorf /// credit: DANIEL BOINTNER/McArthurGlen
Mario Schwann, General Manager of Designer Outlet Parndorf /// credit: DANIEL BOINTNER/McArthurGlen

Designer Outlet Parndorf: Record year 2023 with results above the most successful pre-pandemic year 2019

Central Europe’s leading designer outlet set a new visitor record in 2023 with 6.8 million visitors above pre-pandemic levels. Sales were up ten percent in 2019, with the strongest growth in visitor numbers coming from South Korea, the Middle East and South East Asia. Seven million euros have been earmarked for investment at the site to ensure the success story continues.

As a real magnet for international visitors, the Designer Outlet Parndorf is one of Europe’s top shopping destinations. The center is defying market forecasts and is posting figures for 2023 that exceed the previous year and the record year of 2019, both in terms of visitor frequency with 6.8 million guests (+9% compared to 2019, +21% compared to 2022) and sales (+10% compared to 2019, +21% compared to 2022) – a promising start to the first quarter of 2024 confirms its continued success.

National and international tourism is bringing further visitors to the Designer Outlet, fueled by a growing fan base from South Korea, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Growth from neighboring countries is strong (+27%), and the development of new markets such as the USA, India, or Turkey for the Mediterranean region also offers interesting opportunities. The constant opening of new brand stores, entertaining offers and focal points such as luxury, sport, beauty and kids — combined with a focus on the expansion of sustainable infrastructure — underpin the continuous growth of this unique shopping hotspot.

Since its opening in August 1998, the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Parndorf has developed into the largest designer outlet in Central Europe with almost 37,000 sq m of sales space and has become the most important private employer in Burgenland with around 2,000 jobs. Its success can be attributed to the attractive mix of designer, luxury, and lifestyle brands, which are presented in a pleasant village-like shopping atmosphere. Guests can discover the latest seasonal trends as well as classic items from the previous season with discounts of up to 70 percent in around 160 stores. Behind this success story is the McArthurGlen Group, Europe’s leading owner, developer and operator of designer outlets with 25 locations in eight countries.

Fans from Austria and all over the world

In Austria, the Parndorf Designer Outlet is enjoying growing popularity – so as with regional guests from the catchment area of Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland (+12%). For many travelers from other provinces – from Carinthia to Styria and Salzburg – the Designer Outlet has already become a must-shop destination – the center recorded a six percent increase in guests. McArthurGlen is therefore working with local and regional hotels, tourism associations and other travel trade partners in Vienna and Burgenland to position the center as a permanent fixture in tourism in eastern Austria.

The neighboring countries of Slovakia and Hungary are up strongly (+27%) – there is also growth particularly among shopping fans from the Czech Republic, Romania and Serbia (+24%). Parndorf is also pursuing a very strong European tourism strategy with activities in six European markets in six languages (Austria, Romania, Serbia, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic) in order to reach shopping enthusiasts from neighboring and other countries on the continent. In the existing markets, the center works very closely with well-known influencers as well as with tour operators for coach tours.

With cross-location initiatives, McArthurGlen showcases the great center portfolio throughout Europe and makes the best possible use of synergies. At the end of 2023, the tourism department of Málaga City Hall launched the “Enjoy winter in Málaga” campaign together with the Spanish Tourist Board in Vienna. The Designer Outlet Parndorf was involved in the campaign as an Austrian tourism magnet, which was communicated locally via digital screens, flyers and personal customer contact.

However, Designer Outlet Parndorf has established itself as a shopping hotspot not only in Austria and Europe, but also internationally and is a fixed point for many trips within and to Austria – with a guest growth (tax-free customers) of 68% compared to 2022. With the increased return of international tourism – especially from the countries, and regions with the highest number of visitors, such as South Korea, the Middle East, China and Southeast Asia – and the development of new markets such as the USA, India and Turkey in the Mediterranean region, Designer Outlet Parndorf is consolidating its position as a global shopping destination. In the first months of 2024, the performance result improved further – in January and February 2024, tax-free sales were already 86 percent higher than in 2019.

In order to meet the target groups directly where they are, the Parndorf Designer Outlet also relies on communication strategies and partnerships in other countries of origin. Since 2023, McArthurGlen has further strengthened its market presence with sales representatives in China, Korea, South East Asia, the Middle East and India.

The recognition value directly on-site also plays a major role. Elements such as cooperation with hotels, the provision of shuttle buses and other local advertising measures contribute significantly to establishing the outlet as an attractive shopping destination for tourists as soon as they arrive in the Vienna region or Burgenland. Since the beginning of this year, Designer Outlet Parndorf has also introduced an innovative cooperation with Alipay to target Chinese guests when they are in Vienna.

“The Designer Outlet Parndorf has proven to be an indispensable destination for international shopping enthusiasts. Our efforts to tap into new target groups and develop tailor-made marketing strategies for different countries and target groups contribute significantly to this success. With initiatives such as the cooperation with Alipay, we are setting new standards to meet the needs of our international guests and offer them an unparalleled shopping experience,” says Mario Schwann, General Manager McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Parndorf.

More than shopping: focus on luxury, kids’ entertainment and services

In the last financial year, the offering was significantly renewed and improved with 20 new brand stores, store conversions and pop-up stores on a total area of 3,700 sq m – the focus remains on optimizing the large brand portfolio in particular. In addition to the expansion in the sports area with international designer brands such as Red Bull World and Alpha Tauri, the premium brand Alexander McQueen is a brand new addition to the center’s brand portfolio. Shopping fans of the next generation will also get their money’s worth in the fashion area. With Tommy Hilfiger Kids, another top brand is joining the center’s already broad kids’ portfolio. Numerous new stores or re-fits are also already in the pipeline for 2024: The American outdoor brand Spyder already opened its doors at the beginning of the year, Tom Tailor shines in a new look after reopening and Strellson impresses with its selection of high-quality clothing – from suits and pants to T-shirts.

In 2024, investments in the development of the Designer Outlet Parndorf location are planned in the amount of EUR 7 million. These funds will flow into center redesigns, store redesigns and expansions, modern design elements, signage and sustainable infrastructure projects.