Around 40 years ago, Outlet Centres were still a thing of the future. At first, the old factory stores were replaced by modern outlets before the purpose built Centres started to appear. Instead of getting lost in the mass of different suppliers, the individual brands could present themselves in a larger Centre alongside their peers and engage directly with their customers.
This was a form of presentation which, until this point, had been unknown. It was liberating for many manufacturers, a challenge for brand managers, and a revolution for consumers. Visitors came from miles around to shop in the Outlet Centres, to spend their free time and look for bargains.
There were no bad locations
There were no bad locations – the issue was accessibility and the quality of the offer. Over time, this has evolved and Outlet Centres can now be found close to many of Europe’s larger cities.
Our research showed the importance of design and incorporating leisure to increase dwell time thus creating a popular and successful tourist destination.
The investment of millions of Euros can no longer guarantee profitable returns; without understanding how this business operates right down to the last detail, failure can come at a heavy price.
Retailing has seen another revolution in the last years
Retailing has seen another revolution in the last 3 to 5 years with newly arrived online shops, coupled with their aggressive marketing techniques. They seem like all-powerful competitors.
How does this challenge our market? We believe that the destination Outlet Centre provides an environment which enhances the consumer experience leading to increased sales for the brand. The choice and quality of food, drink and entertainment offerings broaden the appeal, enabling these Centres to robustly compete against the online marketplace.
In view of this trend, the question really is whether investing in the retail development of new Outlet locations is still feasible? The answer is a clear YES!
New locations, new Centres and new offers are still profitable. However, this is only the case if all the pieces of a successful outlet centre fit together to make an attractive picture.
Online and bricks & mortar are no longer opposites
Online and bricks & mortar are no longer opposites, but by necessity complement each other and the best brands and retailers are embracing this philosophy.
People go to Outlet Centres to seek inspiration from attractive brands, where they can enjoy their free time, and meet friends. If they are happy and relaxed then they will willingly spend more time and more money when shopping together.
Retail development for modern consumers
In developing new locations one must see and know the needs of the modern consumer and truly understand how these needs can be met. Only those who are immersed in outlet retailing are able to contact the right and most desirable brand partners to secure them for a particular location. Only by creating the right atmosphere and environment, with the best mix of brands, can developers still achieve great returns on their investment in Outlet Centres.
Retail development requires experience when it comes to questions of scale, density, design, landscaping, circulation, access and planning.
Chameleon Retail has a 360° view and – thanks to its knowledge and experience – holds all the jigsaw pieces to create a successful Outlet Centre.