By David Moin
with contributions from Casey Hall
 on May 25, 2016
Shanghai Village 2[1]

There’s a worldwide malaise in retailing, but not at Shanghai Village, the 592,000-square-foot upscale outlet center that opened last Thursday in China.

“This is a soft opening, but it’s the most productive opening we’ve ever had,” said Scott Malkin, chairman of the U.K.-based Value Retail PLC, developer of Shanghai Village and other designer outlet centers in Europe and China.

Malkin said that over the course of the four-day opening weekend, sales at the 60-plus outlets in business so far tracked at 3,500 euros, or about $4,000, a square foot, on an annualized basis.

He’s also bullish on the pace of outlet openings on the site, with another 10 set to launch before the end of this week and, through the summer, another 60 or so, which will bring the store count in phase one of the development to about 140 units. Phase two is expected to bring the total store count to 240.

“This is our most rapid opening ever in terms of actual number of stores,” Malkin said. “Our philosophy is not to lease up the project all at once but to make sure we have the right mix,” that evolves over time.

In terms of footfall, Malkin projected 25,000 visitors for the first week; 30,000 per week within the first 10 weeks of operation, and up to 60,000 weekly, after the adjacent Shanghai Disney Resort officially opens.

Malkin said Shanghai Village will have a grand opening in the fall, following the formal opening of Shanghai Disney. “Between us and Disney, this is a massive complex.”

The site also has a man-made lake with shuttle boats going back and forth between Disney and Shanghai Village, as well as 15 hotels and restaurants.

Among the outlets opened so far are Giorgio Armani, Coach, Kate Spade, Theory, Michael Kors, Sandro and Maje.

Malkin characterized Shanghai Village as “an authentic European, quality experience focused on hospitality,” including a VIP program that’s about “serving the customer” as well as offering discounts. Among the amenities — valet parking, lounges, personal shopping, hands-free shopping, meeting rooms and exhibition spaces. The overall program of services is “modeled on hotels not shopping centers,” said Malkin, who considers himself to be in the tourism business, more so than being a retailer or developer, and bent on providing shoppers with unique experiences.

For Shanghai Village, Value Retail partnered with Shanghai Shendi Group. Shanghai Village is located in the huge Shanghai International Tourism and Resorts Zone in the eastern district of Pudong. Shanghai Disney, which officially opens June 16, is part of the zone.

The outlet center’s design takes its cue from 1920s Art Deco architecture seen in New York, Paris, Milan, Vienna and Shanghai.

Shanghai Village is Value Retail’s second discount complex in China, with the first launching in Suzhou in 2014. It’s also the company’s eleventh outlet center, with the others operating in Europe in London, Paris, Milan, Barcelona, Madrid, Frankfurt, Munich, Dublin and Brussels.  Chinese consumers represent the company’s single largest customer demographic worldwide, and the centers have a high component of tourists.

“We are very pleased to see the village’s streets come to life with people enjoying not only the beautiful boutiques, but exploring its architecture, the lounges and our many exhibits,” said Value Retail China chief executive officer Mark Israel.

Value Retail has other projects in the works, including expanding Suzhou Village, as well as Bicester Village near London, and Fidenza Village outside Milan.

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