ACROSS | The European Retail Real Estate Magazine

Factory Outlets

Designer Outlet Roermond in front

Designer Outlet Roermond is currently the most profitable outlet center in Europe. Image: ecostra

Designer Outlet Roermond, located directly on the border with Germany, won multiple prizes in this year’s “Outlet Center Performance Report Europe.”

From the tenant’s point of view, the designer outlet center in Roermond (the Netherlands) is currently the most profitable outlet center in Europe. The center—part of the portfolio of McArthurGlen, the biggest European operator of outlet centers—was already at the top of the ranking in the previous year and in 2011 and has always placed among the Top 3.

The center is located in the Netherlands only a stone’s throw away from the German border. It is open all year round—apart from Christmas and New Year’s Day—and has recorded huge rushes of customers from neighboring Germany for years.

The cash tills of its 150 outlet stores are thus ringing loudly. And this year has been the loudest throughout Europe: “Designer Outlet Roermond” was selected by the brand’s representatives as the most beautiful and as having the most attractive site for brand stocking.

Rank Top 20

Second place is occupied by “The Style Outlets Vicolungo” (Italy), which is operated by Neinver and made it to the Top 10 for the first time. The center is located in the economically strong region of Northern Italy, directly next to a highway interchange and situated between the metropolitan areas of Turin and Milan. Among others things, the center benefits from the large waves of tourists on their way to the Mediterranean Sea.

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The Style Outlets Vicolungo, Italy. Image: NEINVER

McArturGlen Cheshire Oaks” in Ellesmere Port (United Kingdom) is ranked third and is part of a large-scale recreational and shopping landscape south of Liverpool, which attracts numerous customers and has ranked among the top-performing centers in the United Kingdom for years.

Some newcomers among the Top 10

The ranking also introduces some newcomers seen among the Top 10 for the first time, like “Outlet Center Brenner” (Italy), “Mantova Outlet Village” (Italy), and “The Style Outlets Vila do Conde” in Portugal. “Outlet Center Brenner” is located on the Alpine pass of the same name and offers Sunday shopping all year long and therefore heavily targets the high numbers of tourists passing by. Due to the optimization of its brand stocking, the center was extended several times in recent years. Another extension is due to be completed in 2017.

All German outlet centers perform well above the European average. The best-performing center in Germany is “Outletcity Metzingen,” which arose out of a Hugo Boss factory store and has grown to host more than 70 international premium brands in the meantime. Around 3.5 million outlet shoppers visit the small town in the Swabian province every year, ensuring that “Outletcity Metzingen” is currently ranked 5th among the top European performers. The second place in Germany is occupied by “The Style Outlets Zweibrücken” (6th place in Europe), which is the largest German outlet center in sales area. 3rd place goes to “Ingolstadt Village” (8th place in Europe). Other German centers, e.g. “Wertheim Village” (19th), “McArthurGlen Neumünster” (26th), and “McArthurGlen Berlin” in Wustermark (30th) also play in the European “Champions League.”

No French outlet centers in the top 20

It is remarkable that—unlike in previous years—no French outlet center is represented in the top 20. The best center in France is “La Vallée Village” in the surroundings east of Paris, which is ranked only 31st in Europe.

Again, the current study confirms the results of recent years: size matters and size is a factor of success, i.e. large-scale outlet centers with a high number of stores enable better revenues for tenants on average than small-scale locations with a limited offer of branded goods.

Once again, the results of this year’s “Outlet Center Performance Report Europe” prove that outlet centers do not guarantee economic success automatically. This is illustrated by a look at the bottom of the ranking: Bringing up the rear as the worst-performing outlet center in Europe was the “Stockholm Quality Outlet” located north of the Swedish capital, followed by “Quai des Marques A15” in Franconville and “Usines Center Paris Outlet” in Gonesse-Roissy (both located in France).

Best operator

The current survey results therefore confirm the great importance of competence, experience, and capability of the operators in the outlet market. From the tenants’ point of view, McArthurGlen remains the operator with the greatest appreciation with regard to the performance of center management, marketing, and leasing. For the first time, however, McArthurGlen must now share the top position with Holy AG (“Outletcity Metzingen”).

In stark contrast to McArthurGlen, which currently manages 21 outlet centers in Europe, Holy AG has only one location under management: “Outletcity Metzingen.” From the tenants’ point of view, however, it is obviously respected for its excellent service. The same applies to the British company Land Securities in 3rd place, which currently operates only two centers in England.

London Designer Outlet is among the Top ten. Image: London Designer Outlet

London Designer Outlet is among the Top ten. Image: London Designer Outlet

Where do brand manufacturers want to expand? In which countries is the demand for stores in outlet centers particularly high? Germany, in particular, is still in focus as a destination for expansion. Approximately ⅔ of European brand manufacturers are searching for locations in Germany.

After Germany, France, Spain, and Italy are increasingly attractive for international brands’ sales and expansion managers. On the other hand, the Netherlands, Austria, and the United Kingdom are clearly of less importance as expansion targets. In the case of the United Kingdom, this may be due to uncertainty about the development of economic relations as a result of the “Brexit” referendum.

For the first time, the participants in this year’s survey were asked which outlet centers—regardless of economic success—are the most attractive locations in Europe (for example with regard to exterior and interior design, furnishing of the mall areas, etc.). By a wide margin, “Designer Outlet Roermond” was declared to be the most architecturally beautiful outlet center in Europe. More than ⅓ of brands voted for Roermond, followed by “Wertheim Village” (Germany) and “La Roca Village” (Spain).

All these centers are designed in the so-called “village style,” trying to incorporate regional elements into their architecture. This is often criticized as “Disneyfication,” however, according to the results of the survey, brand manufacturers clearly do not share such concerns.

The most beautiful center

Moreover, “Designer Outlet Roermond” is not only the most beautiful center in Europe, but has, from the tenants’ point of view, the best offer of luxury and premium brands at the same time. Roermond was named by 50% of the brands and took first place by a large margin. “McArthurGlen Parndorf” (Austria), “Bicester Village” (United Kingdom), “La Vallée Village” (France), and “Outletcity Metzingen” (Germany) follow in ranks two to five.

According to the survey results, there is a significant correlation between the number of premium and luxury brands and economically successful outlet centers. Good performance and good brand stocking are obviously closely linked and mutually reinforcing. High-priced brands usually lease stores in outlet centers only if these centers are already performing well. The growing number of prestigious and attractive brands then increases the attraction for the customers and leads to a further increase in economic success.

About the report

“The Outlet Center Performance Report” Europe has been produced annually since 2008 by the research offices Ecostra (Wiesbaden, Germany) and Magdus (Troyes, France). The report is based on a survey of international brand manufacturers who rate the economic success of their outlet stores operated in European outlet centers, among other things. Other factors include general aspects of site selection, expansion behavior, and market developments. This year, 89 brand manufacturers participated in the survey, representing a portfolio of around 125 different brands in total. The investigation for the year 2016 has just been completed and the data has been evaluated.
The full report “Outlet Center Performance Report Europe 2016,” with detailed analyses and comments, can be ordered in Ecostra’s webshop for the price of €120 (excluding VAT).
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