The most successful outlet centres in Europe have a new leader. Cheshire Oaks, located south of Liverpool in the industrial town of Ellesmere Port, is the second English centre to top the list of the most successful outlet centres in Europe. Until now, this rank in England was reserved for Bicester Village, which is located near the university city of Oxford as well as the tourist attraction Stonehenge. This is a result of the "Outlet Centre Performance Report Europe" (OCPRE), which has been updated annually since 2008 and whose latest edition has just been published. The third place has been taken by Designer Outlet Warsaw in Piaseczno near the Polish capital.
The report, which by now is considered a benchmark for the European outlet sector, is produced by the Wiesbaden-based business consultancy ecostra in cooperation with the French research institute magdus. It is based on data from a total of 91 international brand manufacturers who currently operate a total of 1,383 stores in existing outlet centres in Europe.
Success in Poland: Outlet centre owned by Deutsche Bank reaches the third place in Europe
The runner-up in the list, Bicester Village, is followed in the ranking by a Polish and an Italian centre, both of which occupy third place with identical tenant ratings. The outstanding ranking of Designer Outlet Warsaw is certainly the biggest surprise. Never before had a Polish centre made it into this top group. The centre, located south of the Polish capital in the town of Piaseczno on an old industrial conversion site, is now owned by an investment fund of Deutsche Bank and is managed by the Austrian operator ROS Retail Outlet Shopping. The other third-place finisher is the centre in Serravalle Scrivia, also developed and managed by McArthurGlen, which is located in the Italian region of Piedmont, not far from Genoa.
High rents, lack of staff and space slow down further outlet expansion
The brand manufacturers see the high rents for outlet spaces in particular, but also a lack of suitable sites, as a major obstacle to further expansion. However, quite a few of the brands surveyed emphasize that they already have a dense net of outlet stores and are putting the brakes on expansion for this reason. In contrast, a lack of goods availability or possible conflicts with existing sales partners in the inner-city high streets play virtually no role. "The outlet tenants are confronted with completely different challenges", Caroline Lamy, head of the French research institute magdus and cooperation partner of the report stated. "The biggest problem at the moment is staff availability, followed by sharply rising ancillary operating costs, especially energy and heating. The staffing problem is so serious that almost two-thirds of the respondents are in favour of at least temporarily reducing the opening hours of their outlet stores. Only every fourth respondent rejects such a measure." Yet outlet centres are generally known for utilizing the permissible opening hours as much as possible.
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