HBC’s outlet footprints are smaller and more intimate than its mainline stores, yet
feature a common design language for ease of shopping. Banner-specific product and
knowledge training for associates is similar at outlet and mainline stores, Hamori says.
Sleep Number’s two new stores in the Premium Outlets in Texas and Virginia are
expanding the brand’s reach. The outlet stores target value-orientated consumers
who might not be shopping in the brand’s traditional locations, says Angela Gearhart,
the brand’s senior director of store experience.
“The Sleep Number target consumer is living a digital, connected life and appreci-
ates brands that integrate technology while maintaining a person touch,” she says.
“The outlet customer is destination- and value-focused, but still expects the com-
plete Sleep Number brand experience. In addition, they want a factory outlet shopping
experience that is simple and intuitive, with products that add value to their lives.”
The stores feature factory-outlet bed models and an expanded assortment of closeout
bedding. The spaces have a modern feel, but feature more simplified technology and
visual packages than their mainline counterparts.
“Simple, modern and dynamic, the Sleep Number outlet brand experience exaggerates the value proposition in a way that is convenient and effortless to the customer,”
she says. “This experience may be the consumer’s only interaction with the brand and
needs to support the relationship-based selling model, delivered in a warm, approachable, and intuitive environment.”
Figuring prominently in outlet centers’ future are technology, more entertainment,
and the addition of online and catalog stores to the mix, experts say.
“The industry will continue to evolve,” Holstedt says. “We’re still learning what
“Somebody will come in and be the Starbucks on outlets and change it with an expe-
the magic tricks are.”
One puzzle piece is extra emphasis on food and beverages, “not just at outlets, but
in the entire retail industry,” she says. “You can’t experience that online.”
People enjoy socializing, and malls enable that. Outlets also counter online shopping
by offering bargains combined with immediate gratification, Rubin says.
rience about fashion and entertainment,” Huston predicts. “It will be a game changer.”
Beth Feinstein-Bartl is a seasoned freelance journalist who has covered many retail environ-
ments topics. Her retail experience includes a stint with a luxury retailer in an outlet mall.
import the North
Globally, outlets’ strongest
growth is in North America.
But the venue is gaining
In China, for example, outlet
malls are among the fastest-growing
sectors of the commercial property
industry. At the 63,000-sq.-ft.
Chengdu Times Outlet alone, sales
rose 21% last year, according to
Inside Retail Asia.
Total tax-free sales reached record
highs in 2014 at the McArthurGlen’s
20 Designer Outlet centers across
Europe. Topping the list, Russian
travelers accounted for 29% of
those sales. Chinese visitors came
in a close second, with 25%, reports
Inside Retail Asia.
Australia’s outlet-center industry
has matured in the past 10 years.
Today, 18 locations (including
hybrids) nationally account for a
total gross leasable area of around
3. 1 million sq. ft., according to JLL.
The Australian market is a prime
example of the differing needs
of various cultures. A recent
International Outlet Journal report notes
that Aussies prefer more utilitarian
outlet design to engender the
perception of bargains.
Even so, some overseas outlets are
creating buzz in new markets with
footprints unlike anything in North
America. For example, a CallisonRTKL-designed outlet mall is about to
open next to an amusement park
in Dubai. “It’s totally different than
what we would create here,” says
Sarah Holstedt, senior associate at
the firm. “It’s an exciting new
Sleep Number features
factory outlet bed
models and closeout
bedding products in
JGA-designed store in
the Houston Premium