Total footfall rose by 13.3% in Q1 over the first three months of last year, while slightly lagging the same pre-Covid period of 2019. But guest spend per visit jumped 21.4% between January to March this year over the comparable first quarter of 2019 and was up 6.2% on Q1 2022.
VIA Outlets is solely owned by Dutch institutional investor APG and has fashion outlets in the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Czech Republic, Norway, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland, with the portfolio valued at approximately €1.8 billion at the end of last year. Total brand sales across these outlet centers were a record €1.2 billion in 2022, an increase of 3% over pre-pandemic 2019.
“VIA Outlets had a very strong start to 2023. We had 6.2 million guests visit our pan-European centers in the first three months of this year, finding a growing number of new brands there to welcome them. This year has, so far, been notable for the continuation of the resurgence in brand sales we saw during the fourth quarter of 2022. It’s clear that the rapid recovery has been supported by the competitive prices our guests can find in our outlets, particularly during periods of economic downturn. But also due to the continuing intensive investment we have made in our 3R-Strategy of remerchandising, remodeling, and remarketing over the course of the pandemic, which has played its part in the record brand sales we’re experiencing currently. We have also had several new extensions opening, or are planned in the pipeline, at our centers to provide a revitalized experience for guests, including the many tourists from Europe and beyond coming to our fashion outlets again”, says Otto Ambagtsheer, CEO of VIA Outlets.
Tourism is an important contributor to VIA Outlet’s performance, with tourists spending on average six times more than local visitors in its centers. From outside Europe, North American guests as well as visitors from Israel, Egypt, Turkey and the GCC led Q1 sales, replacing pre-pandemic leaders China and Russia. At Freeport Lisboa Fashion Outlet in Portugal, payment technology showed that 92 different nationalities visited in the first quarter.
Over 66 remerchandising deals, including upsizes and new store openings representing nine brands and 1,343 sq m of GLA, started to trade or expanded in the VIA Outlets portfolio during the first quarter of 2023. At Batavia Stad Fashion Outlet in the Netherlands alone, newcomers included an inaugural outlet store for Ace & Tate opening alongside Dutch fashion retailers Catwalk Junkie and No Label, US clothing brand The North Face as well as Belgian eyewear and watch designer, Komono.
The company intends to increase GLA by 7,500 sq m by 2025 through its pipeline of development opportunities, starting with extensions at Landquart Fashion Outlet, Zurich and Villa do Conde Porto Fashion Outlet for which it expects to achieve permitting in 2023.