Outlets on the European stage

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Outlets on the European stage

Innesco was closely involved in another retail property sector this month – that of Outlet Retail. I had been invited to shape the programme for the ICSC’s European Outlet Conference, held in Barcelona this week, and played a small part in delivering what was a superb conference. I was particularly keen to expose the latest trends shaping the sector, and the importance of acting upon research – both customer and occupier.

Every major Outlet landlord and services firm were represented there over two and a half days, along with a number of retailers including Mango and Petit Bateau. Two days of conference, and a study tour to Value Retail’s established La Roca scheme – which rivals their Bicester Village benchmark, and we were all up to speed with the sector.

Globalisation of consumer behaviour was front of mind, as was the production of goods  for Outlet under legal scrutiny. CBRE France gave a fascinating explanation of the ascendancy of luxury brands in the sector, and the recent emergence of bridge brands since 2010 filling the gap between Mass Market and Luxury goods.

A superb summary from Henderson Global Investors on the investment market completed the conference for me. From an investment perspective there have been no €50m+ assets sold in the last few years that would allow the market to value the higher end of the sector accurately – so perhaps 2013 transactions will hold the key to fully understanding value in the Outlet sector.

Outlets remain a vital and vibrant distribution channel for retailers and brands, but crucially they’re no longer seen as a final option to liquidate last season’s stock. They can now create theatre, suspense, excitement and enjoyment in their shopping environment, and more and more investors are recognising this.

Dan Innes, Managing Director

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