One of Europe’s largest discount outlet developer, Value Retail, will open its first complex outside Europe in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, next spring.
Value Retail gushed that “the design of Suzhou Village will be evocative of a romantic Italian resort town, infused with the elegant Eastern influences that can be found in such famed Shanghai locations as the French Concession and The Bund.”
Initially, around 100 brands will have outlets at Suzhou Village, including recognizable names such as Burberry and Prada. All merchandises will be discounted by 40 to 50 percent from the retail prices at the brands’ Beijing and Shanghai stores.
According to Bloomberg, Value Retail, plans to spend about 350 million euros ($468 million) in China by 2015.
A developing trend in China, large outlet malls are not new. The outlet mall concept was introduced in the mainland when Yansha Youyi Shopping City opened its first project in Beijing in 2002. Outlets are usually located outside a major city and near large expressways.
According to China Daily, China’s largest retail group, Shanghai Bailian Shopping Center, opened its first outlets in 2006 in suburban Shanghai’s Qingpu district. The Qingpu outlets turned a profit within the first year. The success at Qingpu led Bailian to open the Xiasha outlets in Hangzhou in June 2010. Xiasha achieved average daily sales of more than 2 million yuan within a year of its opening.
Bailian is expected to open another outlet in Wuxi on June 29, which will be twice the size of Qingpu, with a 1 billion yuan investment.
“In China, there are only a handful of properly run outlet centers with a relevant mix of international brands. Most are poor imitations with little or no connection to the brand or master franchisee,” said Wang Yuanyuan, a retail analyst at Essence Securities.