McArthurGlen plans €1bn spend, stronger focus on young shoppers

McArthurGlen, the owner of designer outlets in countries including the UK and Italy, has announced a €1bn investment in new centres and expansions to make shopping more experiential and lure more millennials and Gen Zs into shopping centres.



The company is investing in four new developments, including a new designer outlet in Cannock near Birmingham, which is due to open in 2020, and its first designer outlet in Spain in Malaga.

It is also set to carry out expansion projects at seven existing centres - all of which are scheduled to open over the next three years. The designer outlets at Cheshire Oaks near Manchester, and Ashford near London are in the pipeline, as well three sites in Italy, one in Canada and one in Germany.

The expansions will be used to integrate more technology into the shopping experience, a move directly aimed at the younger generation, which is digitally savvy and shows a higher annual spend than other demographics. McArthurGlen said those aged between 18-29 visit one of its centres twice as often as those aged over 50. Tourists are also a key priority in the expansion programme.

Julia Calabrese, company CEO, commented: “As convenience purchases increasingly move online, consumer appetite for destination shopping has never been stronger. That includes tourists, and we are targeting a doubling of our tourism revenues over the next five years, supported by the continuing rise in independent travel. As well as expanding our portfolio, we are investing in our in-centre experience and in technology to engage and delight our guests and meet growing demand for experiential retail from Generations Y and Z .”

The development pipeline will create more than 800 new store opportunities by 2021, and the group’s collective 90-minute catchment will grow to nearly 180 million shoppers.

Further improving the shopping experience at the group’s portfolio is the recent addition of 50 new brands during the past 12 months, including Chloe, Delpozo and Jimmy Choo, as well as new F&D brands such as Bistrot Milano Centrale, Comptoir Libanais and luxury cafe Sacher Eck.

According to the group, the mix of fashion and food brands have helped its leading brand partners see their like-for-like sales grow by an average of 8.6% per year over the past five years.

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