Chinese sales +270% at McArthurGlen European outlet stores

By Kevin Rozario |

Outlet malls and villages continue to be a magnet for Chinese and Asian travellers in Europe, according to figures from the biggest player in the market.


McArthurGlen – a joint venture between the world’s largest retail developer, Simon Property Group, and Kaempfer Partners – operates 20 designer outlet centres across Europe. It claims that total tax-free sales by Chinese shoppers rose by an astonishing +270% in the past two years (2012 and 2013) and that they now account for more than 20% of all tax-free sales at its outlets.


The Chinese are spending eight times more than the average shopper – a figure that rises to a factor of 10 at McArthurGlen’s flagship Italian centres. Shoppers from South East Asia and South Korea also recorded impressive sales growth last year.

The most popular McArthurGlen units for Chinese shoppers in 2013, in terms of total spending, were: Roermond (in the Netherlands near the German border) – where tax-free purchases by Chinese shoppers increased by +17% (left); Serravalle (near Milan) up +55% (top image);  Parndorf (Vienna) up +30%; Noventa di Piave (Venice) up +94%; and Castel Romano (Rome) up +20%.



A special promotion to celebrate the 2014 Golden Week holiday enabled McArthurGlen to boost year-on-year tax-free sales at its 20 European outlets by nearly +50% during February when a total of more than 3,400 specially-created Chinese New Year red envelopes and 2,200 tote bags were redeemed.

According to a McArthurGlen survey of Chinese travellers in Europe, fashion shopping is the most popular activity after sightseeing, and visiting museums and galleries, with around one in three Chinese tourists visiting a designer outlet village.


“We see travellers from China and South East Asia as being the markets that will drive the future growth of our tourism business,” says Julia Calabrese (right), CEO of McArthurGlen Group. “From our experience, the Chinese love to shop for fashions for themselves and family and friends when they travel. They look to buy sought-after European luxury brands when in Europe, at the same time avoiding the steep import duties back home.”


Among the new trends that the retailer notes is that while the Chinese used to arrive from the key cities such as Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, increasing numbers are now traveling to Europe from second-tier Chinese cities. “This greater dispersion of shopping tourist source markets is also a noticeable trend from other emerging Asian markets,” says McArthurGlen.


Among other Asian nations with a penchant for luxury shoppers, visitors from Thailand spent +52% more at the retailer’s outlets in 2013, while Malaysian spending increased by +48%. Indonesian travellers spent +23% more last year, closely followed by Singapore (up +22%) and South Korea (up +18%).

As part of its global expansion, the first McArthurGlen Designer Outlet in North America is due to open in Vancouver in 2015 on land owned by Vancouver Airport.


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