This year, with its five centres in Italy, the European designer outlets leading company McArthurGlen, will generate a turnover of about €1 billion. In 2013 it reached €917 million (14.6% more than 2012).
Visitors boomed to twenty million, a 10% growth compared to 2013, when there were 18.5 million. And sales “have followed a parallel growth trend to that of visitors, thanks to non-EU and Italian tourists” country manager Roberto Meneghesso, announced yesterday in Milan. The five centres are Barberino del Mugello (Florence), Castel Romano (Rome), Serravalle (Alessandria), Noventa di Piave (Venice) and La Reggia (Caserta), for a total of about 800 shops distributed over a surface of 150 thousand square meters.
Sales to extra-Eu tourists have reached €200 million, representing one-fifth of the total with an increase of 15.6 % compared to €173 million last year. “Russian tourists, who in the last two years were among the most assiduous visitors of our outlet stores, along with Ukrainians and Kazakhis, decreased in 2014, due to the Ukraine crisis and the ruble devaluation. But the decline was offset by the increase in Chinese and Korean tourists, which grew by 40 %. Customers from Southeast - Asia today represent 25% of the tax free purchases in the five centres’”, Meneghesso explained.
But the most surprising figure, however, is another: not only have Italian visitors increased, but they also raised their average expenditure. “The first thing to consider is price: in McArthurGlen outlets discounts vary, throughout the year, from 30 to 70% and in times of economic crisis and shrunk family budgets, this is a decisive factor” Meneghesso emphasized. But, he adds, there are other reasons: in our outlets customers can save time, because the offering ranges from clothing to house accessories to cosmetics, the ideal mix for families and a female audience.
In 2015 the group, which in Europe owns other 15 outlets, plans to expand the Italian centres and invest in continuous training. In 2014 McArthurGlen allocated €1 million for all sort of courses, from language classes to visual merchandising, offered to more than a thousand employees.
In respect to Expo Milan there are no “special projects” at present, but Serravalle, which is about a hundred kilometers from Milan, will certainly be the most preferred outlet. “We do not exclude that tourists from China may go up to Noventa di Piave, because many of them will visit Venice, after having been to Milan”, concludes Meneghesso.
Next year will also mark the group’s expansion outside the European borders: next spring McArthurGlem will open a centre in Vancouver, Canada, just five minutes from the airport and 20 from the city so to intercept Canadian customers and tourists. Next step will be Istanbul, where two centres will open; one on the Asian side of the city, and the other in the European part.
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