SHOP AND GO: It’s a known fact that tourists like to shop, and indeed Asian, Middle Eastern and Russian travelers play a crucial role in keeping cash registers ringing in stores throughout Europe. However, Value Retail took the connection one step further, setting up a stand for its Chic Outlet Shopping centers at the leading tourism trade fair IMB which closed in Berlin Sunday.
“The whole idea is to raise the awareness of shopping and tourism,” said Desirée Bollier, chief executive officer of Value Retail Management. “The connection has always been there. As a tourist, you’re time rich, relaxed, and like to spoil yourself. Shopping is part of your day experience, and we’ve managed to create destinations.” Partnering with travel agents, airlines, hotel chains and spas, Chic Outlet Shopping has pulled together what it calls mini “shop-ations” or shopping vacations: two-to-three day packages offering in addition to shopping at its nine upscale outlet villages in Europe “great spas, food, sightseeing.”
Chic Outlet Shopping works with about 130 travel partners around the world, customizing and tailoring the excursions and offerings to their specific customers and cultures. “The numbers of people who travel is staggering and it’s a vast growth story,” Bollier declared. “Our tax free numbers are up 58 percent in our nine (European) villages.”
In Germany, where Value Retail operates Wertheim Village outside of Frankfurt and Ingoldstadt Village near Munich, Bollier said business has been “very good. Ingolstadt is up 110 percent, with some really strong Global Blue data. The Russian customer is number one, followed by visitors from China, the Middle East and the Ukraine. There’s a really strong following.”
More than 30 million people visited the nine Chic Outlet Shopping villages in 2011. Forty percent of those visitors were international, and spent an average of 300 euros per visit, she noted.