RETAILWATCH Neinver plots growth with Amsterdam launch

Spanish multinational company Neinver, which specialises in managing, developing and investing in commercial and logistics properties, is preparing to end 2020 with a flourish. 

On 26 November, the firm will launch Amsterdam The Style Outlets, a new retail destination for the wealthy Randstad region featuring around 100 stores and a range of top international brands.

‘We are bringing our exceptional The Style Outlets shopping experience to Amsterdam just in time for the Christmas trade season,’ enthuses Eduardo Ceballos, asset manager director Southern Europe and the Netherlands. ‘Construction works have continued throughout the pandemic, following strict safety measures. The construction is now finalising and we are currently busy with the last details and fit out works as the handover of the units to the tenants is nearly finished. All and the teams are working hard to remain on course to open the scheme at the end of this year.’

Famous names
A joint project between Neinver and investment manager Nuveen Real Estate, the Dutch outlet will include famous names such as adidas, Guess, New Balance, Nike, O’Neil, Puma, Salomon, The Kooples, Karl Lagerfeld, S. Oliver, Geox and Skechers set across 19,000 m² of GLA.

‘Everything about this project is unique and exciting. It has all the ingredients to become a game changer in the retail sector in the Netherlands, including its design, an appealing and cosy ambience, the retail mix, amenities, the type of catchment population, the tourism component, location and adjacent public transport,’ notes Ceballos.

‘This is the first outlet development in the Greater Amsterdam area, with easy access to the Dutch capital (an 18-minute drive to the city centre) and located next to Halfweg-Zwanenburg railway station, two stops away from Amsterdam Central Station and one stop away from Haarlem,’ he adds.

‘This is also the first outlet centre in the Randstad region, where the majority of the Dutch population works and lives, and it serves a catchment area of 12 million people within a 90-minute drive. Moreover, its prime location, less than 15 minutes from Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, will make it an important retail destination for tourists too.’

Totally revitalised
The scheme is also part of SugarCity, a totally revitalised area on the site of a former sugar factory, considered one of the fastest-developing areas in the Netherlands. ‘We wanted to create an appealing and inviting destination that would perfectly integrate into its surroundings and where our guests could breathe the local Amsterdam culture,’ says Ceballos.

‘Built in a waterside setting, the village design of the centre draws upon the best examples of Dutch architecture, with an important role for vegetation and natural light. Shops will feature brick facades and shuttered windows topped by traditional pitched roofs that recall the factory’s original 19th-century warehouses. The centre has been developed in line with strict sustainability standards and has obtained BREEAM New Construction certification in the design phase.’

In terms of the commercial mix, Ceballos confirms that the centre will feature 30% Dutch brands and 70% international brands, ‘with some of our brand partners opening for the first time in the Dutch outlet market’.

The scheme will be further distinguished with around 1,000 m² GLA dedicated to its dining offer, and include 2,230 parking spaces for cars and 200 for bicycles.

Wealthy catchment
‘The Randstad region is an exceptional location for an outlet centre due to the strong catchment area,’ Ceballos underlines. ‘This is one of the wealthiest, most densely populated regions of Europe. All existing outlet centres in the Netherlands are located close to the borders or near the coast and at least a 1-hour drive from Amsterdam, and our research reveals that around 70% of people from Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague would like to have an outlet centre in the Greater Amsterdam Area.’

The timely launch of the scheme is testament to the team’s hard work this year, Ceballos believes. ‘Despite this difficult period and all the constraints, leasing has performed well, and we expect to open with around 75% occupancy. The quality level of this project has also been proven as we even succeeded in signing several interesting fashion segment leases during the lockdown period,’ he notes.

‘This is a unique scheme and retailers know the growth potential that Amsterdam The Style Outlets offers and that it will no doubt grow from strength to strength in the years to come. Our brand partners trust in the centre’s strong positives and in Neinver’s expertise and proven track record in the outlet market, which is more important than ever in the current challenging retail landscape.’

Covid measures
The new outlet is also poised to make the best of a bad year. ‘For many brands that have accumulated excess inventory during the pandemic, the outlet channel is again becoming a vital part of their distribution strategy, regaining some of its original purpose as an essential, controlled means to sell overstock,’ Ceballos says. ‘In fact, brands are showing increased interest in establishing or strengthening their presence in outlet centres.’

He adds: ‘The centre will open with all the health and safety measures in place as we have been doing throughout all the centres in our portfolio under our ‘Shop Safe, Stay Safe’ programme and in compliance with the national regulations.’

Occupier support
The global pandemic has tested the entire retail sector, Cabellos confirms, but Neinver has sought to support its occupiers as much as possible. ‘Since the very beginning, we have been in close discussions with our tenants, following up with each one of them to help them on their liquidity and support them to continue with us,’ he says.

‘Although the first measures addressed rent relief to help bridge the gap in income due to the lockdowns imposed across our portfolio, the support has extended beyond the financial realm. In times like this, open communication, cooperation and meaningful partnerships is more important than ever, and this is why our approach has been to analyse each case and situation individually.

'After all, we are all in the same boat, and close collaboration, aligned goals and joint solutions are the only way. Our intensive management model has always required understanding and supporting our brand partners’ strategies with individual solutions and this has been the foundation for success in the European outlet industry. Intensifying these partnerships with brand has been particularly more important now.’