Spend at UK outlet centres to reach £4.1bn by 2024
Consumer appetite for bargains will drive an increase in spend at UK outlet centres and designer villages over the next five years, rivalling e-commerce for growth, according to a new report.
In fact, spend at outlet centres is expected to grow by 4.8% in 2019, significantly ahead of physical retail which will decline by 0.5%, and just slightly behind the 6.4% increase in non-food online sales.
According to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, spend at outlet locations will rise by £637m to reach £4.1bn in 2024, fuelled by a shift in occupier line-ups from traditional stores such as M&S and Gap to younger names like Dr Martens and Nike.
Emily Salter, retail analyst at GlobalData commented: “Outlets will outperform other locations as town centres struggle with falling footfall and retailers shuttering stores, and many supermall developments are being put on hold. As well as several new outlet developments in the pipeline, landlords are investing in existing outlets to improve retail propositions and create more of a destination by focusing on leisure and food service.”
Indeed, McArthurGlen is investing £90 million to expand and reinvigorate its Ashford Designer Outlet with new brands and leisure facilities, while in Scotland, RPMI Railpen has rebranded Gretna Gateway Outlet Village as part of plans to transform it into Scotland’s premier designer village.
And last year, AEG and Crosstree Real Estate Partners opened the doors of Icon Outlet centre at London’s O2, creating a new off-price destination in London with a line-up of brands that includes Aspinal of London, Radley, Dune, Karen Millen and Guess.
Fashion, leisure and experiences
Fashion and footwear spending is expected to account for 65% of the outlet market this year, and even though the categories will continue to dominate over the next five years, the report said their share will fall slightly as landlords start to introduce more food and leisure operators.
Salter continued: “Leisure is becoming a bigger focus for outlet owners, as locations have previously often lacked anything more than a fast food restaurant and coffee shop or two. Following the addition of a greater variety of leisure and food service options in supermalls, consumer expectations surrounding the availability of these facilities in shopping locations has risen, so outlets are having to play catch up and introduce desirable options.”
Additionally, outlet centre owners will be looking at creating a bigger sense of excitement by hosting pop-up stores, as Hush and Charlotte Tilbury have done in the past, which will help increase visit frequency.
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