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Thomas Reichenauer (left) is Co-Founder and Managing Director of ROS Retail Outlet Shopping; Designer Outlet Gdańsk (right). /// credit: ROS
Thomas Reichenauer (left) is Co-Founder and Managing Director of ROS Retail Outlet Shopping; Designer Outlet Gdańsk (right). /// credit: ROS

“We Are Well-Placed To Navigate The Challenges And Opportunities Ahead”

Following a customer-centric approach, the ‘BOLD’ strategy carried out by ROS Retail Outlet Shopping across its entire portfolio reached full potential in 2023. The operator’s average sales soared by +16.5% across the portfolio in 2023, fuelled by an enriched brand mix, a stronger shopping experience and the ability to adapt to evolving market conditions.

ROS Retail Outlet Shopping showed during 2023 a strong performance with an average sales growth of +16.5% in 2023 across the portfolio compared to 2022, having even recorded all-time sales records in several of its locations during peak campaigns such as Black Friday and Black Week. Growing consumer preference for the outlet format, together with the best value for money, unique brand mix and atmosphere of Designer Outlets, have been decisive factors in the operator’s success over the past year.

Such accomplishments have been supported by the ambitious ‘BOLD’ strategy launched in the same year, which ROS continues to push forward in order to accelerate long-term growth in consideration of the fast-shifting market demands and the individual stage of the asset life cycle.

“We are very satisfied with the performance of our portfolio across Europe, which is proof of our strategy’s success. We have been quick to adapt to market fluctuations and have once again demonstrated the resilience and profitability of the retail outlet sector. We are well-placed to navigate
the challenges and opportunities ahead with optimism and determination,” says Thomas Reichenauer, Co-Founder and Managing Director at ROS Retail Outlet Shopping.

Enhanced Premiumisation

ROS saw growing interest from new brands as well as a rising appetite for expansion amongst established brands across its portfolio in 2023. In the Polish centers managed by the operator, up to 20 new openings, including Pinko at Designer Outlet Gdańsk and Kazar at Designer Outlet Sosnowiec,
were registered, occupying a total gross lettable area of 3,000 sq m. ROS also showcased the effectiveness of its winning ‘Trading-up’ formula at Designer Outlet Algarve, where premium brands like Karl Lagerfeld, BOSS, Façonnable, Hackett London, Adolfo Domínguez and GANT enjoyed a warm welcome.

BOSS store opened in 2023 at Designer Outlet Algarve. /// credit: ROS Retail Outlet Shopping

As for this year, the operator remains focused on upgrading its brand portfolio and committed to a high-end and premium brand line-up. A major milestone for the operator in 2024 will be the opening of the center extension at Designer Outlet Gdańsk by the end of the year, which will host almost 20 additional stores and a new state-of-the-art food court. Similarly, the year will pave the way for further developments planned for 2025 with the center extensions at Designer Outlet Algarve and Designer Outlet Croatia as well as the opening of the completely new development Designer Outlet Kraków.

“We are very excited about the expansion plans ahead, which further demonstrate our steady growth and strong market position. Our teams are constantly striving to create the perfect brand mix that suits each existing and upcoming locations in our portfolio as well as the needs of our customers”, says Reichenauer.

Construction progress of the Designer Outlet Gdańsk. /// credit: ROS Retail Outlet Shopping

Increased Brand Partner Support For Stronger Retail

Fostering a good and close band partner relationship is an essential factor for ROS in driving retail excellence and ultimately unleashing the full potential of retail across the portfolio. Particularly relevant today is the support to brand partners in human resources as has been made evident by the retail staff shortage in Europe. Accordingly, ROS continues to work on solutions to address this issue, involving
recruitment services and software, active and continuous training and the creation of attractive work incentives for employees. Initiatives such as Job Days are already in place to bring potential employees closer to working in retail at Designer Outlets.

Connecting With Customers In New Ways

Based on a ‘think global, act local’ approach, ROS continues to deliver a unique shopping experience to visitors that contributes to positioning each location as a vibrant premium outlet shopping destination. A key factor adding to the appeal of the outlet format is its signature events such as the Crazy Weekend, characerized by additional special discounts. Other examples include Late Night Shopping, which kicked off the past summer peak sales season at Designer Outlet Soltau and Designer Outlet Luxembourg. Extended opening hours featuring distinctive center decorations, live music, special children’s activities and food trucks were among the greatest highlights. After significant success in several locations with increased traffic and sales volume, ROS has also launched the Super Thursday campaign across all centers.

Summer Late Night Shopping at Designer Outlet Soltau. /// credit: ROS Retail Outlet Shopping

“We are observing how the rising trend of mixed-use spaces keeps pushing F&B and leisure as a key element in making outlet destinations more attractive and increasing dwell time. It’s important to keep up with consumer demand as well as to give customers additional incentives to come to our locations and spend the day. Our aim is to create premium outlet shopping destinations that are worth visiting,” adds Thomas Reichenauer.

Sustainability is another key focus area for ROS in 2024. The operator will bring to the fore its ESG strategy which aims to maximize long-term value for the community, customers, brand partners and investors, while minimizing the environmental impact of the business.