It’s not just shoppers who are seeking outlet center deals.
While development in the full-price shopping center sector has ground to a halt, projects continue to pile up in the outlet sector. As many as 50 U.S. outlet centers are in the planning stages, which, if completed, would represent an almost 25 percent jump in locations from the current slate of roughly 220 centers in the country, growth unheard of in recent history, but still not large enough to return the outlet market to its apex, when 285 or so outlet centers dotted the American landscape 14 years ago.
“There are a lot of people trying to jump on the development bandwagon. Outlets are doing well, and it is easy to put forward a proposal, but making it happen is more difficult,” said Adrian Nelson, group leasing director at the McArthurGlen Group, the London-based designer outlet company.
Outlet centers’ consistently strong results make them very attractive. For 2012, Value Retail News estimated the outlet industry’s total sales were $25.4 billion, $3 billion higher than its 2011 estimate. Turning to specific companies, comparable tenant sales for Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc.’s consolidated portfolio increased 2.3 percent to $380 a square foot for the year ended March 31. Sales a square foot at Simon Property Group’s The Mills properties, which combine outlet and traditional retail, climbed 5.4 percent to $510 in the year ended Dec. 31.
“A strong outlet center will always outperform a strong regional mall. Some of these outlet centers are performing double what typical malls do,” said Wagner. “If you look at certain brands, their outlet business is exponentially huge compared to their full-price stores.”
Even if the country’s persistent economic issues fade, Steven B. Tanger, president and chief executive officer of Tanger Factory Outlets, doesn’t think the popularity of outlets will diminish. “The value proposition is embedded in the lifestyle of today’s consumer, and outlets are the natural destination of choice for branded apparel,” he said during the company’s first-quarter earnings conference call. “The old adage is true: In good times, people love a bargain, and, in tough times like these, people need a bargain.”
Americans aren’t alone in their passion for outlet shopping. Scott Malkin, chairman of London-based Value Retail and cochairman of Value Retail China, said the company’s nine properties in Europe generated $1,400 in sales a square foot last year, led by its Bicester Village near the Cotswolds with $3,000 in sales a square foot.
Tourists from outside the European Union account for 25 to 30 percent of the visits at Value Retail’s properties, according to Malkin.
Like their American counterparts, European outlet companies are breaking out the shovels. China is a common destination. Value Retail is scheduled to open Suzhou Village in China next year with 100 boutiques and restaurants, and Malkin disclosed the company has been selected to build outlets at Shanghai Disney. “In China, you are going to have a wave of outlet center construction because there is very little of the product in existence,” he said. “Brands have been growing at full price and haven’t been pushed to be more efficient in terms of correctly disposing of their surplus. That’s all coming now.”
Canada has also been a country of choice for outlet developers. Malkin estimated 30 projects are in the works in Canada, which he described as “traditionally underserved by outlet shopping.” The biggest designer outlet center developer in Europe, McArthurGlen, will open an outlet center near the Vancouver International Airport next year. That center is expected to eventually have 370,000 square feet.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast