While brick-and-mortar stores battle for their existence, outlet centers continue with new openings and expansions. Like McArthurGlen. Most recently, the Designer Outlet Roermond, the largest outlet in Northern Europe, opened 50 new stores and expanded its sales area of around 11,500 square meters to a total of 46,700 square meters. Furthermore, the range of designers has also multiplied, including luxury brands such as Karl Lagerfeld, Liebeskind Berlin, Peuterey, Sarah Pacini, La Perla, Woolrich or Brax and Mammut. With 23 designer outlets in nine countries and a currently managed sales area of 600,000 square meters, the group has the fastest growing designer outlets in Europe. Here, Henrik Madsen, managing director Northern Europe, McArthurGlen, talks about the customer’s fascination with outlet centers.
McArthurGlen strongly expands in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands. How do you explain yourself the high demand for outlets?
Shopping in a McArthurGlen design outlet is not only an experience - it is a special one in a great surrounding. Popular brands with up to 70% discount in a beautifully designed shopping village and with an all-season entertainment offer for the whole family make us stand out. Surprising our customers and incorporating them is our goal. Shopping and entertainment inseparably belong together for us.
In addition the designer outlets by McArthurGlen continuously serve new impulses for local and regional retailers as well as the tourism on site. Therefore we work closely with the regional authorities. That’s how we make sure that every single of our centers offers economic advantages for the respective region. New, high-quality employments and the possibility of continuous further education are only one example for that. In each center McArthurGlen creates up to 1000 new jobs, many of them even before the center opens.
Which segments work the best?
It’s not about this or that segment. What counts is the perfect brand mix for every single center at its particular location. Therefore we need to know the wishes and expectations of our customers, in general and individually at each location. Based on these insights we choose the optimal brand mix and continuously adjust it.
For example, let’s take our designer outlet in Neumünster. A lot of visitors here, close to Hamburg, enjoy the selection of watersports brands because they live close to the sea. In contrast, we offer a unique selection for skiing and hiking in our McArthurGlen outlet in Salzburg. The Salzburg countryside with its outdoor possibilities is within close proximity. But most of all our success is based on an unbeatable mix of lifestyle, designer and fashion brands. As mentioned before, our centers are shopping destinations for the whole family or friends who come and visit us with different requests and expectations.
Values play a big role for our customers. Our guests are brand-conscious, fashionable and stylish at the same time. They want to update their wardrobe or add a special piece to it. That’s why we continuously develop our concept and brand offer. It’s the only way we can meet the demands of an increasingly challenging consumer. At the same time we stick to our core task: we offer our guests the world’s most renowned brands for great price points in a special shopping and leisure time environment.
How important is the denim/sportswear sector for your company? Or do luxury brands sell the best?
Denim and sportswear are an essential part of our offer. The strength of our designer outlet is in particular the offer of luxury and designer brands mixed with highly demanded highstreet brands. The customer and his demand define the offer depending on seasonal and fashion trends.
How do you stay attractive for your customers? Is the appeal of the price enough? And how important are shopfitting, experience etc. for the buying behavior?
Our goal is to surprise and incorporate our customers. Just like every leisure facility around the world. Shopping and entertainment in perfect symbiosis – that’s what McArthurGlen stands for. Therefore we connect musical and cultural events in all of our centers which are free and open for our visitors and people from the region. With that, we are not only the leaders in the branch, but we also continuously offer occasions for further visits in our centers.
This approach also reflects in the architectural design of our centers. Big and small squares as well as nicely constructed rest zones offer enough space for bigger crowds. Like this, we can provide events all year long which our customers enjoy. Let’s for example take our late-night shopping in Berlin or Neumünster. Those events with great shopping offers, musical performances for the whole family are very popular.
How high is the average ticket per week, at the weekends. And how did it change?
The revenues of the company are comparable with big, inner-city premium destinations in Europe and higher than the ones of normal, inner-city retailers. The average expenses for all centers are high in the industry average and strong in comparison to the full-price segment. No wonder, McArthurGlen Centers are autonomous fashion destinations. With our outstanding quantity and selection of popular brands our centers attract people from a large area.
What’s important about choosing locations? What are for example criteria for exclusion?
The location is part of the success criteria of designer outlets. When the journey is uncomplicated and the outlet is easy to reach, customers are willing to accept up to 90 minutes of driving. It doesn’t matter whether the center is in the city center as planned in Remscheid, close to the city center like in Roermond or Ochtrup, or in the suburbs like the designer outlets in Berlin and Neumünster. The goal is always to create a unique shopping atmosphere as well as a leisure experience which is worth the journey.
A perfect brand mix which meets our customer’s expectations, as well as a unique village style with selected cafés, restaurants and inviting places to rest complement the experience, which all McArthurGlen Centers offer.