On October 24, 2019, VIA Outlets will have a good reason to celebrate. The expansion of Hede Fashion Outlet, near Gothenburg in Sweden, will finally be opened. Work on the project started roughly a year ago, and the total investment was 11 million euros. An area amounting to 2,700 sq m has been added to the center, thereby increasing the total area to 19,000 sq m and the number of stores by 15, which brings the total number to 75. New tenants include Calvin Klein, Gant, Morris Stockholm, Lindt, Ecco, Reima, Triumph, and Bruun & Stengade.
The measures carried out at the Gothenburg location include VIA Outlets’ ongoing remodeling program, which centers on three outlets, namely Sevilla Fashion Outlet in Spain, Wroclaw Fashion Outlet in Poland, and Hede Fashion Outlet. The company has invested a total of approximately 29 million euros in this project. The objective is to help improve the overall guest experience and better position the schemes as premium shopping destinations across Europe.
Hede Fashion Outlet. Credit: VIA Outlets
Investment of 13 Million Euros in Porto
VIA Outlets’ activities are also on display at Vila do Conde Porto Fashion Outlet (VCPFO) in Portugal: Redesign work kicked off there in September 2019, and the objective is to transform the scheme into a point of reference at the shopping destination, which is located in the northern region of the country, and elevate the experience of visitors. The company has made a local investment of 33 million euros in the last two years: an investment in the amount of 13 million euros for this refurbishment as well as a 20-million-euro investment in the remodeling of Freeport Lisboa Fashion Outlet in 2017. This amount confirms the investment strategy that VIA Outlets has pursued in Portugal since the acquisition of the two centers, as well as the consolidation of the premium positioning that has been implemented over the last few years.
Vila do Conde Porto Fashion Outlet. Credit: VIA Outlets
One pillar of VCPFO’s redesign will center around investment in customer service, through the creation of a Welcome Desk, as well as the renovation of the entire leisure area. The visitor experience will be enhanced by an intervention in the internal architecture of the space, resulting in special impact on the two entrances of the outlet and the restaurant area, which, in addition to the renovated space, will also provide a more local and differentiating offer.
50/50 Joint Venture for APG and Hammerson
On September 3, 2019, VIA Outlets confirmed that both Hammerson and APG have each increased their ownership in the business by more than 3% (6.25% combined), and they now each own a 50% stake in the €1.6 bn premium outlet business. Hammerson and APG purchased the balance of shares for €32 m each, at a slight premium, from former operating partners Value Retail and Meyer Bergman. Prior to the change in ownership, a new management structure was introduced, led by Chief Executive Otto Ambagtsheer, former COO of VIA Outlets, alongside a proven operating team.