Village Groupe, backed by expertise, intelligent capital, and industry experience, is bringing Outlet Malls of international standards to India and re-defining the shopping experience.
Outlet Malls are often on the top of the tour agenda for Indian families vacationing in Europe or North America, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, international vacations are not on the agenda for a few years for most Indian tourists.
Outlets first appeared in the eastern United States in the 1930s. Factory stores started to offer old season or excess goods to employees at a low price.
In 1974, Vanity Fair opened up the first multi-store outlet centre in Reading, Pennsylvania and throughout the 1980s and 1990s, outlet malls mushroomed rapidly in the semi-urban areas of the United States.
However, Outlet Malls are not an exclusively American phenomenon; they are widespread across Europe and in some parts of Asia too. As of 2019, there were about 450 plus proper outlet malls all over the world with 80 per cent of them located in North America and Europe.
Globally, some of the most successful outlet mall brands are premium outlets by Simon Property Group, The Villages (Bicester Village Shopping Collection by Value Retail), and Outlet Villages by McArthur Glen.
In India there is already evidence of some successful standalone "Factory Outlet Stores" and even some clustered shops calling themselves "Outlet Malls" but they often lack experience and are no match for what Village Groupe is seeing internationally, neither in terms of the customer experience, the brand assortment nor in terms of turnover.
Also, failed malls in India are often converted into outlet malls and these are mostly half-hearted attempts to salvage the situation for both the developer and the tenant brands, but unfortunately not the ideal solution.
An Outlet Centre/Mall is an integral part of a brand's retail journey, as they need to convert their aged and surplus stock into profit without compromising on their full-price business.
Outlet malls help brands maintain their brand ethos while allowing them to access new brand customers. Reportedly, 97 per cent of the world's top brands endorse these malls with some of them increasingly having an outlet strategy with special lines mass-manufactured separately for their outlet stores.
In the last decade, the growth of e-commerce in India was largely fuelled by online liquidations led by top brands and private labels. In the current pandemic times, no sooner was the lockdown eased; brands immediately started liquidating a bulk of their in-store inventory online on leading online marketplaces boosting sales numbers matching pre-COVID numbers.
However, online sales are often challenging with a higher rate of product returns and lack of in-person experience while outlet malls offer a relaxed shopping environment scoring high on the experience quotient as suggested by the international response to these malls post-lockdown.
Bicester Village, one of the top-rated outlet locations near Oxford reopened on June 15th and was slammed for the number of customers seen crowding together with a petition calling for it to close. The response has been phenomenal all over the world with people coming out for bargains while most regular malls are still fighting over rents.
Village Groupe sees a huge opportunity to bring international class outlet malls to a large consumer market that is increasingly brand conscious, with fast-growing disposable incomes.
Enjoying first-mover advantage and by developing extremely high-quality retail environments at strategic locations, Village Groupe is committed to creating world-class retail destinations.
These low-density developments are designed to cater to every family with a taste for an aspirational lifestyle while complying with stricter hygiene-related guidelines.
These upcoming outlet malls will be named "Village Outlet Collection" and will score high on architectural design and customer experience making them "Destination Malls".
Unlike Outlet Malls outside India, these "Village Outlets" will also have an excellent spread of Food & Beverage, a world-class family entertainment centre and a Drive-In Cinema making it a complete family experience.
Currently, the largest one is in collaboration with AdlabsImagica (off Mumbai-Pune Highway) and is in the final stages of architectural planning. The "Village Outlet Collection" will be pan-India with some of these Village Outlets in various stages of planning located on the peripheries of Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ludhiana, and one on the Delhi - Jaipur Highway.
"Wait for Autumn 2021, we will soon bring the best Indian and International brands with world-class experiences and unmatched savings. Most international brands and Indian designer brands will be offering 30-70 per cent discounts year around while we are also discussing exclusive outlet collections from some of the top brands not present in India yet" said Deepak Kumar Sharma, CEO of Village Groupe, serial retail and real-estate entrepreneur who has deeply researched & networked in this space for several years before eventually setting up this venture last year.
With a combined international experience of 130 plus years, the Founding Team of Village Groupe comprises veterans from the field of Retail Planning, Leasing, Shopping Centre Operations, Business Development, Retail Operations and REITs.
This story is provided by BusinessWire India. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article.