European Outlet Centers Are Attractions Unto Themselves

February 8, 2017

According to the International Outlet Journal, international tourists are flocking to outlet centers in Europe. “Many crave an experience that will also provide a sense of occasion and enhance their holiday.” The article points to “savvy developers” who are recognizing the trend and are establishing centers that are “attractions unto themselves. Some have adopted the architectural vernacular of their surroundings, while others have incorporated visually arresting structural elements with an iconic, contemporary edge. When done sensitively, both approaches can achieve the same goal: enabling visitors to enjoy interesting culture and design in an environment that also offers fabulous deals on famous brands.”

The Journal points to centers in England sporting such brands as Ted Baker, Osprey London, Links of London, Barbour and Fred Perry; and in Germany for popular designers like Hugo Boss, Hallhuber, Tom Tailor, Rene Lezar, and Karl Lagerfeld. It identifies an outlet center in Italy, near Venice, that reflects the effort to be relevant to history and reputation. “Facades are painted in a Mediterranean palette, accented by colorful mosaics and frescoes; lushly landscaped walkways lead to a lagoon-blue reflecting pool with fountains. There’s even a dry-docked Venetian gondola where children can play.”

As cultural as the presentation might intend to be, sales figures are what have turned the concept from experiment to trend. Luxury outlet centers in Europe reported sales up double-digits in 2015 from the previous year. According to the Women’s Wear Daily fashion website,, outlet center operators see the movement as a shift to a “hospitality culture.” The amenity-rich environment understands the desires of the international tourist and recognizes the underlying truth that shopping is a “primary focus for long-haul travelers.”

All of which serves to confirm that innovation is driving the European outlet center market. Among the most competitive and productive trends is a blending of online and on-location shopping. “The new shopping center model will combine traditional retail options with physical distribution points designed to fulfill both brick-and-mortar and e-commerce orders,” the ICSC reported in its latest study of European shopping. Among other “game-changing concepts” in Europe, the study pointed out, was “accelerated developer-retailer collaboration.” In the coming years, “a new paradigm will evolve for landlord-tenant collaboration, involving a sharing of data and technology.”

TORG has been at the heart of these changes, not simply staying abreast, but leading the way with astute direction for developers and retailers. “We know how to reach international outlet shoppers: how to motivate them to visit our centers, reward them and incentivize return visits,” noted TORG Principal Lisa Wagner. “Our team is multinational and multilingual, and bridges cultural gaps to invite customers from across the globe to the outlet experience.”