Chinese drive Europe outlet malls

Chinese travellers are poised to become the biggest global spenders at McArthurGlen designer outlets in Europe.

Fashion-conscious travellers from China and across Asia are spending big at McArthurGlen’s  20 Designer Outlet centres located across Europe, with Chinese visitors poised to become the most prolific spenders in 2015.

The company, a joint venture with US property giant Simon, says total tax-free sales at McArthurGlen Designer Outlets reached a record high in 2014, reflecting a more than quadrupling of sales to international travellers over the past four years.

“Impressive sales growth was seen from Chinese shoppers, up 36 per cent, and from Korean travellers, whose spending increased 32 per cent” the company said.

The projections for future Chinese spending overseas are even more impressive. In 2014, 109 million Chinese tourists spent US$164 billion worldwide, while 174 million Chinese tourists are tipped to spend $264 billion annually by 2019, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

“These upward global spending figures are being reflected in sales at McArthurGlen’s Designer Outlets. In 2014, Chinese shoppers accounted for 25 per cent of total tax-free sales, ranking second overall behind Russian travelers (29 per cent). Korean visitors ranked third, with five per cent of total tax-free sales.

“In 2015, Chinese visitors will likely overtake Russian tourists as the number one international spender.”

McArthurGlen Designer Outlets is responding to the burgeoning Chinese interest by increasing its digital engagement with consumers in China. A dedicated page is about to be launched on social media channel WeChat, and McArthurGlen also re-launched its Sino-Weibo page. In addition, the McArthurGlen App and The Guide is available in 12 languages, including Chinese.

Anthony Rippingale, McArthurGlen’s head of tourism, says the company’s sales to international shopping tourists are increasing twice as fast as for overall tax-free retail sales in Europe.

“We are noticing particularly impressive growth from Korea and China, whose shoppers rank first and second for average transaction value for international visitors.”

Across all international shopping markets, the most popular McArthurGlen Designer Outlets in 2014 for tax-free shopping were: Serravalle (near Milan, Italy), Roermond (near Düsseldorf, Germany), Parndorf (Vienna, Austria), Noventa di Piave (Venice, Italy) and Castel Romano (Rome, Italy).

In June, McArthurGlen will open its first centre outside Europe, in Vancouver, Canada.

“The latter will be of special interest to Chinese shoppers after the announcement of the new 10-year Canada visa plan for Chinese guests was announced in March,” the company said.

McArthurGlen Group, Europe’s leading owner, developer and manager of designer outlets, was founded in Europe by Kaempfer Partners in 1993. Since then, the company has developed nearly 600,000 sqm of outlet space, with a current value of more than euro 3 billion, and manages 20 McArthurGlen Designer Outlets across eight countries: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK.

In 2013, McArthurGlen became a joint venture between the world’s largest retail developer, Simon Property Group, and Kaempfer Partners.


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