Realm has announced a run of lettings across their portfolio this summer as the sector continues to outperform other retail segments.
International brands Tommy Hilfiger, Guess, The North Face, and Levi’s have recently announced major upsizes while Radley London and Skechers have signed for new leases. Other high-profile names committing to new space include Carvela, Lyle & Scott, Timberland and Sole Trader.
With many centers reporting their best months, brands are seeking to capitalize on outlet retail’s continued strong performance. Across Realm-managed outlets, fashion houses are increasing their footprints either by relocation or upsizing into neighboring units, allowing them to widen their offer and introduce new ranges and product lines.
Upsizing is enabling these brands to target new shoppers and create destination stores. For instance, Tommy Hilfiger has committed to a new 470 sq m unit at Livingston Designer Outlet, where new childrenswear ranges will complement an expanded footwear and accessories department.
Creating a ‘flagship experience’ is another key motivator behind these deals where brands are making greater investments in visual merchandising, digital screens and in-store tech. Additional services such as in-house alterations are also being offered, reducing the tangible difference between outlet and full-price stores, particularly for first-time shoppers.
As the trend for outlet store expansion continues, brands are leveraging this opportunity to boost their market share. The new 417 sq m Skechers unit, which will open in the Autumn, at Lakeside Village, is a perfect example as their range will cover back-to-school, leisure, fashion, athleisure, running and comfort creating a multi-generational appeal in a highly visible unit at the scheme.
Many new deals are also indicative of a strategic push to attract a more youthful demographic to the sector. New store launches (including the recent opening of Radley London at Lakeside Village) are targeting Gen-z and Millennials with content on social media that has been created by the individual outlet store teams themselves. Coupled with wider center marketing efforts on TikTok, Reels, Instagram and influencer posts these younger shoppers and digital natives are being engaged in a far more effective way.
“We are clearly seeing both a desire for growth and consolidation behind these deals as brands have become increasingly at ease with the outlook for the outlet sector. Outlet shopping as a concept in the UK has been maturing; greater investment and sophistication in stock packages, promotion and general store presentation is tangibly paying off and customers whether new or existing are wholeheartedly embracing the change. Whilst consumer confidence may currently be low, faith in outlets from brands, and shoppers, is very much the opposite”, says Christine Grace, Leasing Director at Realm.