LONDON — Value Retail has waived all charges in the second quarter in an effort to help its retail brand partners through the coronavirus crisis, WWD has learned.
Value Retail sent out letters this week informing brands that have stores in the nine European locations within the Bicester Village Shopping Collection that they did not have to pay anything in the April to June period.
The sites within the collection are Bicester in Oxfordshire; Kildare near Dublin; La Vallée, outside Paris; Wertheim and Ingolstadt in Germany; La Roca and Las Rozas in Spain; Fidenza, in Italy, and Maasmechelen, not far from Brussels. There are also two villages in China, in Shanghai and Suzhou.
Bicester is the flagship of the Bicester Village Shopping Collection, and also boasts the highest densities of sales per square foot of all the villages, and shopping centers worldwide, according to Scott Malkin, the company’s founder. It was also Value Retail’s first site in Europe, and marks its 25th anniversary this year.
“We know that everyone, including Value Retail, is suffering. And we’re trying to help our brand partners find a way forward,” Malkin said. “We believe that this is the right thing to do. We always take the view that we are long-term partners of the brands and that our interests are aligned. We don’t charge traditional rents, we’re royalty-based and we don’t have traditional leases. We have licensing agreements, like one would have in a department store.”
Malkin added that the brands in the Shanghai and Suzhou Villages in China were not charged while they were closed. They have both reopened since China began lifting its lockdown measures, and are achieving sales and footfall levels “approaching or exceeding” this same time last year, according to Malkin.
Shanghai Village reopened for trading on March 2, while Suzhou Village returned to work on Feb. 17. Suzhou was closed for four weeks, and Shanghai for six weeks.