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After a 14-year stretch, JTM Rütenen AG bid farewell to the “Outletcenter Edelreich" project in Wigoltingen. Credit: JTM Rütenen AG

Small Country, Saturated Market

The Swiss have a relatively large number of designer outlets at their disposal. A project that has recently been abandoned for good does nothing to alter the situation.

At the end of September 2020, JTM Rütenen AG announced that the 14 unsuccessful years of planning that had gone into the “Outletcenter Edelreich” project in Wigoltingen, in the canton of Thurgau, were enough to officially bury it. The industrial land will be put to another use. The reasons behind the decision are quite clear. The Administrative Court of Thurgau confirmed the decision made by the Department of Construction and Environment, which rejected the design plan for the designer outlet in 2019. “Outletcenter Edelreich” would have created 360 jobs. The sales area would have measured approximately 30,000 sq m. The ultimate ruling that was issued by the Administrative Court of Thurgau proves what experts have known for quite some time. The outlet market within the Swiss Confederation is by no means an easy market in which to operate. The availability of space is limited, and the political and transport regulations for new projects are extremely strict. 

An additional 30,000 sq m of sales area will not be added to the Swiss designer outlet market. Nevertheless, the market of the small but financially strong Alpine state remains saturated. There are no fewer than five properties in operation: Outlet Park in Murgenthal in the canton of Aargau, Foxtown Factory Stores in Mendrisio in the canton of Ticino, Fashion Fish Factory Outlet in Schönewerd in the canton of Solothurn, Aubonne Outlet in Aubonne in the canton of Vaud, and Landquart Fashion Outlet in Landquart in the canton of Graubünden. 

Location and Offer Are Key

In short: In Switzerland, as is so often the case, an object’s unique selling proposition determines whether it is successful or whether it fails, as Mathias Bommer, Center Manager of Landquart Fashion Outlet (see interview) is well aware: “Landquart Fashion Outlet is highly competitive, with no direct competition in the immediate catchment. While there are other outlets in the Aarau, Aubonne, and Mendrisio regions, there are none that can offer anything similar to Landquart Fashion Outlet in terms of brand mix, strategic location, and overall customer experience.”