McArthurGlen sees uptake in serious shoppers


People are returning to the outlet villages with renewed vigour to shop, McArthurGlen Group, Europe's leading owner, developer and manager of designer outlets, tells TTN, during a recent market visit to Dubai.

Gulio Leporatti, Head of Tourism-Marketing and Sales, McArthurGlen Group, says, “It was a good summer - from July 2021, we started to see relevant volume of tourism in particular from the Middle East, which was the one of the first long-haul markets to restart. The UAE shoppers came first, we saw very good results in Italy, Spain and Northern Europe. This was soon followed by visitors coming from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar over the summer. Clearly, we are not yet back to pre-pandemic levels, we're still missing the Asian markets but we have the right product for the post-pandemic travellers. Our centres are large, open air with big outdoor spaces. We have taken all the safety measures, hand sanitizers, face masks are mandatory everywhere.”

McArthurGlen is a pioneer of designer outlet retailing in Europe. The company currently manages 26 designer outlets across 10 countries, including Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK. With 695,000 sqm of retail space, McArthurGlen caters to over 90 million fashion-loving customers, delivering total portfolio revenues of over €4.5 billion per year. The company is planning its ongoing expansion with two new designer outlets in Paris-Giverny (France) – expected to open early next year - and Remscheid (near the German cities of Cologne and Düsseldorf), which is slated to open later.

Tourism has changed over the last two years and shopping tourism is no different. We ask Leporatti to shed light on the changes the group has seen over the pandemic.

“What we're seeing is that shoppers seem to be even more focused on the shopping. People come with a mission. When they come to us, they really shop. We see probably less of the casual walkarounds and more people who do a very fruitful day of shopping and visit multiple stores while enjoying their time out.

“We also noticed that people visited us all week round instead of high traffic on weekends – this could be because of the remote working dynamics, there are no defined weekends, so they don't just restrict themselves to a Sunday or a Saturday.”

Over the summer of last year, McArthurGlen opened Play Land, a brand new 6,000 square metre leisure concept at Designer Outlet Serravalle dedicated to family entertainment. The multi-million euro attraction introduces a new state-of-the-art experiential element to the centre that further enhances the shopping experience for guests of all ages. Play Land houses Lele's Aqua Park, which is a brand-new concept in the McArthurGlen portfolio. Featuring a bespoke design, the 3,500 square metre waterpark features a variety of activities, including slides, water cannons and a large waterfall, designed to maximise the fun for children and enhance the day-out experience for families.

“Apart from extensive family fun, we are also offering services that help with visits, such as VIP lounges, and the ability to pre-book your appointment to avoid the queue. With certain brands, we've started offering appointment services so shoppers can book their slot to visit at a time of their convenience.

“Another service, still in pilot stages, is that shoppers can pre-select the product, reserve it and find it waiting for them when they visit the store. This pilot was launched in the UK in Cheshire Oaks and we are evaluating whether to expand it elsewhere,” says Leporatti.