By Volker Stinnes
Land of Fashion is one of Italy’s most significant outlet operators. The portfolio of five villages: Franciacorta Village, Valdichiana Village, Mantova Village, Puglia Village, and Palmanova Village now has a total gross leasable area of over 150,000 sq m and more than 18 million annual visitors.
During the pandemic we proved to be a reliable business partner to our brand partners, providing significant support and maintaining stable occupancy rates. We continued our strategy of improving our villages through significant and continued investments and have seen strong demand post re-opening. We have opened more than 35 new stores this year and aim to accelerate openings to approximately 80 by year-end. This includes brands such as Furla, Roberto Cavalli, Blumarine, Flavio Castellani, Moreschi, Aigner, Patrizia Pepe, Trussardi.
“Quintessentially Italian” is our DNA and therefore also pivotal in the strategic re-positioning, of the Land of Fashion Villages. We are focusing on our customer journey under the theme of the Italian Dolce Vita – to bring out the best of Italy to our international visitors, and the best of the world to Italy, through fashion, hospitality, culinary experiences, art and design. All in a safe, joyful, and above all, unforgettable experience.
Given our strong relevance to and continued relationship with our local catchments, our rebound, since the easing of restrictions, has been extremely strong. Footfall has already reached and/or exceeded pre-pandemic levels. Our locations also benefit from the current trend to escape from the city for a weekend break and reflect how post-pandemic purchasing power has shifted from the cities to the countryside.
Land of Fashion villages are strategically located in typical tourist locations, this year attracting mostly German, Austrian, French and Swiss visitors. They are also highly attractive to Italian tourists, given their vicinity to Lake Garda and Lake Iseo (Franciacorta Village), on the key artery of the Brenner Highway (Mantova Village), the Adriatic coastline and the Dolomites (Palmanova), and the ever-popular staycation destinations of Tuscany (Valdichiana Village) and Puglia (Puglia Village).
Land of Fashion’s independent footfall rankings among all Italian shopping destinations have increased significantly. In 2020, all five Land of Fashion villages ranked in the top 15, with Franciacorta Village in third place and Valdichiana Village in fourth place (UrbiStat 2020).
Our success in recent months has confirmed three key issues relevant to outlet destinations: first, physical retail is very much alive. Just as online purchasing increased during the various lockdowns around the world, the return to physical shopping experiences has proven to be strong. Second, in times of reduced tourism, especially long-haul, the strength of the local catchment matters greatly. This combined with strong intra-European tourism flows to our villages, bodes very well. Third, and finally, Italians continue to be highly brand sensitive, especially for premium and luxury brands, making Italy a perfect market for omni-channel retailing.
As Land of Fashion, we are moving from strength to strength, emerging from the pandemic more resilient and stronger than ever.
Land of Fashion and its portfolio of assets is managed by MOMI (Multi Outlet Management Italy), part of Amsterdam-based Multi Corporation, a leading pan-European integrated service platform for retail real estate assets with approximately 100 properties under management. The owners of the portfolio are real estate funds managed by Blackstone and Kryalos.