Sales and footfall traffic, tenant growth and safe shopping practices represent the keys to that success, underscoring the stability of the outlets’ format and the appeal for consumers.
Sales and footfall
Despite the pandemic, Outlet Village Belaya Dacha increased like for like sales by 2% in 2020 compared to 2019, continuing the trend of positive growth for each year the center has been open since 2012. Additionally, more than 3 million people visited the shopping destination in 2020, representing a 2% increase in footfall traffic year over year. At the same time, the average check increased by 3% when compared to 2019. The continued growth came despite periods of time during quarantine when many refrained from shopping until certain restrictions were removed.
Outlet Village Pulkovo like for like sales increased by 21% in 2020, compared to 2019. The outlet village welcomed over 1.7 million guests in 2020, an increase of 11% year over year. These figures were achieved partly by the fact that St. Petersburg has become one of the centers of domestic tourism, and the city’s residents missed in-person shopping. Outlet Village Pulkovo, due to its unique amenities, was also one of the first shopping locations to open after the restrictions were lifted.
The Outlet Moscow Arkhangelskoe opened in the middle of the 2020 pandemic and became the first outlet in Russia focused on the premium and luxury brands such as Gucci, Prada, Valentino, Brunello Cucinelli, Brioni, Kiton, Etro, Billionaire, Agent Provocateur, Coach and Patrick Roger. Since its opening in June, Outlet Arkhangelskoe welcomed more than 400,000 guests, with 24% of those visitors visiting the outlet twice or more. The outlet’s sales are also showing solid growth with a 20% increase month-over-month.
“2020 was the most challenging year ever in our history. Still, we are quite pleased that we ended the year with positive growth,” commented Antoni Gascon, retail director at Hines. “Closing our shopping centers due to the pandemic was something that we could have never imagined, and fortunately, we never did. Since the start of the pandemic, we have worked closely with our tenants in order to face the situation in the best possible way.”
In 2020, Outlet Village Belaya Dacha also welcomed 19 new tenants, including Lindt, 12 Storeez, Dirk Bikkembergs, HUGO, Montblanc and Togas. In addition, the food hall welcomed three new tenants with Greek, Hawaiian and Italian cuisines – Gyros, Poke Bowl and “Zdraste! Nam po paste!” There is also now more space in the food hall to allow for social distancing. Additionally, the village opened the Double B coffee shop on the main square.
In December 2020, Phase III of Outlet Village Pulkovo was inaugurated with an added 5,077 square meters to introduce 20 new boutiques. These new tenants will include Helly Hansen, Ecco, Bugatti, La Biali and Technopark. At the same time, Hines opened a multifunctional space of 500 square meters where different events and exhibitions will be held during the year. The first event hosted a retro cars exhibit with interactive features in partnership with Velgutsgarage and AutoBloggerShow.
“Our shopping malls were the perfect place for going out and getting back to the normal life, with nice stores, great discounts, free parking and open air streets where one can walk around and enjoy the outdoors. That’s why outlet villages are so popular and why they have become even more successful during this pandemic period,” continued Gascon.
The outlet village concept and the open-air shopping format proved to be attractive for shoppers in terms of the possibility of maintaining social distance and became a safer alternative for shopping.
All three centers took precautions for guests and staff seriously. Store employees now wear personal protective equipment, and hand sanitizers are located in many boutiques and public areas. Added communication materials are placed throughout the outlets and serve as reminders for visitors to wear masks and maintain social distance. Also, depending on the size of the stores, the number of shoppers allowed inside at one time is temporarily limited.