Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Barberino Designer Outlet approved for expansion

Barberino Designer Outlet, one of five McArthurGlen Designer Outlets in Italy, has been given the go-ahead to start building works on the centre’s second phase by the municipality of Barberino del Mugello.

This expansion of the Designer Outlet village, located in the province of Florence and in the heart of Tuscany, will see the addition of 6,000 sq m of retail space and around 30-35 extra stores. This adds to the existing 21,000 sq m of retail space and 100 stores.

Barberino Designer Outlet is owned by Henderson Global Investors’ European Outlet Mall Fund (EOMF), with McArthurGlen as a co-investor in the centre as well as in the EOMF.

The centre was opened in 2006 by McArthurGlen, and purchased by Henderson’s EOMF in 2009. This new, second phase is planned to open in the third quarter of 2012, and will offer a total of 300 jobs, bringing the total workforce at the Designer Outlet to over 1,000.

Last year Barberino Designer Outlet received a record 3.3 million consumers, attracted by some of the best luxury, designer and high-street names in fashion, all offering prices of 30-70 per cent off, all year round.

Sales at the centre performed strongly last year, boosted by a record number of international travellers visiting the centre from outside Europe; with a staggering 99 per cent increase in the number of Russian shoppers and a 94 per cent increase in Chinese tourists compared with last year.

Currently, brands at the centre include such leading names as Bruno Magli, Calvin Klein Collection, Calvin Klein Jeans, D&G, Furla, Guess, Les Copains, Missoni, Pal Zileri, Pinko, Richmond, Roberto Cavalli and Timberland.

Barberino Designer Outlet is set in a stunning location in the valley of the river Sieve. The river runs through the village, with a series of footbridges connecting the stores on both sides. The centre also has a good range of restaurants, cafes and bars, a covered children’s play area and parking for 2,000 cars, with an additional 260 spaces made available with the opening of the second phase.

The shopping environment of this second phase will reflect the high standards of the first phase, with the architectural design inspired by the Renaissance villas of the Mugello region.

More than seven million people live within a 90-minute drive of the centre, with the Tuscany region being one of Europe’s key tourist destinations, attracting 11 million tourists a year. The Designer Outlet is 30 minutes’ drive north of Florence and one hour from Bologna, off the Bologna-Florence A1 motorway.

Gary Bond, McArthurGlen’s CEO Development, says: “We are seeing record numbers of consumers visiting our centres in Italy as well as across the rest of Europe, as shoppers look to stretch their money further and still buy those top brands that they love. Barberino Designer Outlet has gone from strength to strength since its opening in 2006 to become one of Tuscany’s, and Italy’s, leading designer outlets.”

David Williams, fund manager of the Henderson EOMF says: “Investment in retail properties is a major part of Henderson’s total GBP11.8 billion of property assets under management. EOMF provides investors access to some of the best designer outlet centres in Europe managed by leading designer outlet operator and developer McArthurGlen. Barberino is one of the most successful centres in our pan-European portfolio and the expansion is part of our investment strategy to continue to deliver strong performance for our investors.”

McArthurGlen operates five Designer Outlets in Italy. The other four are: Serravalle Designer Outlet (Milan), which is Europe’s biggest designer outlet with 180 stores, Castel Romano Designer Outlet (Rome), Veneto Designer Outlet (Venice) and La Reggia Designer Outlet (Naples), which opened in February 2010.

Currently, McArthurGlen is under way with the development of nearly 150,000 sq m of new retail space across Europe, with new centres opening in Athens, later this year, and in Neumünster, near Hamburg, in 2012, as well as the expansion of many of its centres across Europe, including its Designer Outlets at Castel Romano and Veneto, as well as Barberino.

SOURCE: PropertyFundsWorld

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