Retail outlet operator VIA Outlets defied doom and gloom in the shopping sector by achieving healthy increases in sales and footfall last year.
At a time when customers are changing their habits by spending less time and money at physical shopping locations, outlet centres stick out and VIA’s annual results for 2019 underline this.
Last year, the company racked up an 8.4% increase in sales, up to €1.16 bn, a 6.1% uplift in footfall, with more than 32 million visitors, and 128 new store openings by tenants.
Underpinning the strong performance was the company’s ‘three R’s’ strategy, a spokesman said. It focuses upon remodelling, remerchandising and remarketing its portfolio of 11 centres in nine European countries, which total 267,000 m2 of gross leasable area and host 1,100 stores.
Welcoming the annual results, Otto Ambagtsheer, CEO of VIA, said: ‘Our portfolio continues to deliver exceptional results with growth across all fundamental metrics, proving once again that our 3 R’s strategy is working well and continues to deliver fantastic results for our investors.
‘Stepping into the new decade, we are continuously improving the overall experience for our guests and brand partners and remain dedicated to this winning strategy. There is an exciting journey ahead as we look for new ways to further extend the VIA Outlets brand and strengthen VIA Outlets’ position as one of the leading premium outlet owner-operators in Europe.’
Last year, Ambagtsheer became the first CEO of VIA since it was founded in 2014 as a fund, by a joint venture of Dutch pension fund manager APG, UK REIT Hammerson, investment manager Meyer Bergman and outlet specialist Value Retail.
During 2019, VIA remerchandised 31% of its portfolio and 128 new brands joined the portfolio, including Ajax, Frederique Constant, Liu-Jo, Coccinelle. Meanwhile brands such as Adidas, Hugo Boss, Diesel, Karl Lagerfeld and Calvin Klein increased their occupancy.
Jorge Sánchez Mera, head of leasing, said: ‘As interest from retailers continues to increase, it’s becoming overtly clear that outlet centres are now considered an essential channel in any successful brand’s sales strategy. More and more retailers are seeing outlet centres as a good source of revenue – plus there is the added benefit of reaching new customer segments and markets.’