European outlet malls operator VIA Outlets said that all of its properties are open for trading as of Monday, following the reopening of Freeport Lisboa Fashion Outlet this morning.
With most of the centers have been trading since the end of April, it added that the “performance after reopening has been encouraging across both brand sales and, where there are no government-imposed caps on visitors, footfall”.
In fact, it has been seeing higher sales per visitor (SPV) at most locations with the average across the portfolio during May being 25.1% higher year-on-year.
The company is part-owned by British property giant Hammerson alongside joint venture partner APG and has been expanding strongly in recent periods. It saw an 8.4% increase in brand sales to €1.16bn last year.
Only three of its outlet malls (Amsterdam, Oslo, and Gothenburg) were able to stay open throughout the lockdown period with most forced to close in March and April.
The company said the increases since reopening can be explained by “an increased demand for shopping after an extended period of not being able to visit physical stores, and a commitment amongst shoppers to travel to safe retail destinations where social distancing is more straightforward”.
It’s perhaps no surprise that outlet malls should see strong visitor traffic and sales. The company said that following this extended period of lockdown across Europe, many retailers have large amounts of excess stock. VIA Outlets is "actively working with its brand partners to find solutions for stock management, including offering additional space in centers where they have a presence, either on a temporary or permanent basis, or pop-up stores in new centers, which also gives retailers the opportunity to trial their offer in new markets”.
Like other retail operators, the company has robust safety measures in place for all of its locations.
CEO Otto Ambagtsheer said: “After what has been a difficult time for the entire industry, we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and it feels great to have every one of our centers open and trading again. We look forward to making up for the lost time and are delighted to see that the appetite for physical, outlet shopping in a safe environment is stronger than ever – and with both sales and footfall figures surpassing last year’s numbers in several centers, it is a clear sign that shoppers have truly missed the experience of visiting our centers and the brands in our portfolio.”