McArthurGlen sales hit record €4.5bn after Provence debut, tourist boom is key

Outlet mall giant McArthurGlen saw sales hitting a record €4.5 billion in its latest year as the London-headquartered firm’s 24 designer outlets in the UK, mainland Europe and Canada saw total brand partner sales rising almost 13% and comparable sales lifting an impressive 10%.


McArthurGlen is working on phase 2 of its Ashford expansion


The company added 85.000 sq m on new retail space in the past 12 months and also signed up 100 new retail partners and Europe’s largest designer outlet operator looks set to continue its impressive run as it’s still expanding fast.

CEO Julia Calabrese said: “These results prove that our strategy of an excellent shopping proposition and an all-round entertainment experience across our portfolio is resonating with local and international consumers,” adding that the newly acquired centre in Germany’s Ochtrup “performed exceptionally well” and that the company has “just seen record weekend footfall at [the] flagship designer outlet Serravalle, near Milan.”

And that footfall across the portfolio is being boosted by the tourism boom. Tax-free sales at the firm’s centres have risen by 13% in the latest year and by 50% over the past three years on the back of an influx of tourists from outside of Europe. The biggest rise has been seen in shoppers from China, Russia and South Korea who account for over half of all sales and spend six times as much as other customers.

BOOMING SECTOR

Both these results and rival Value Retail’s recent expansion of its UK Bicester Village luxury outlet centre underline just how big a business the outlet sector is in Europe. But while the tourism boom has helped the sector grow, an increasing interest in branded product from local consumers as well as a bargain-hunting mentality have also added to the overall appeal.

McArthurGlen has taken advantage of this to both expand existing malls and enter completely new markets. In April it opened its first location in the South of France, Designer Outlet Provence, which is set to attract nearly two million visitors by the end of the year. The €120 million centre is still growing and will unveil its latest store this month, as department store Printemps opens the doors to its first ever outlet store in 150 years.

The company has also acquired the Rosada Fashion Outlet in the Netherlands, which benefits from a 90 minute catchment of 19.8 million people, one of the largest in the firm’s portfolio. And four of McArthurGlen’s most successful centres - Serravalle and Noventa in Italy, Roermond in the Netherlands and Parndorf in Austria - have added new space this year.

Interestingly too, the company has seen its brand mix moving upmarket. It said that wth a portfolio of over 3,000 stores and having completed over 500 leasing deals in the past 12 months, it was a record year for the number of luxury, premium and lifestyle brands partnering with it for the first time. Its new brands have included Longchamp and Montblanc in Roermond and Fendi in Serravalle. 


The Serravalle centre near Milan is a major success story for McArthurGlen


For the future, the company said it is on track to outperform the wider retail industry and to add 900,000 sq m in space over the next three years with a short-term goal of an extra 150,000 sq m.
 
Due to open next autumn is McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Malaga, southern Spain’s first designer outlet and the firm’s first development in the Spanish market.  

Spring 2019 will see the launch of its Vancouver Airport Phase II which has one of the highest average sales densities of all shopping malls in Canada.  And that autumn, its Designer Outlet Ashford Phase II will add 35 new stores, restaurants and cafés plus an 1,200 additional parking spaces.

Then in 2020, it will open in Remscheid as it expands in the German market. Investing €165 million in the project, the new 27,000 sq m centre and its 2,500-space car park will serve an “exceptional" 90-minute catchment of 21 million people.

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