US premium-outlet giant looks to Southeast Asia for future expansion
BANGKOK — Simon Property Group, a US-based operator of premium shopping outlets, has set sights on the Southeast Asia market for future expansion, Uchenna Akujuo, the group’s director for international development and finance, revealed.
Akujuo said the company’s success in the development of premium outlets stemmed from its strong relationship with top global brands.He said that Simon now operated about 100 premium outlets of which 29 are outside the US.
Thailand is the second Southeast Asian market the company will be entering after Malaysia. Its first premium outlets will officially open in Bangkok by the end of next year in a joint venture with Siam Piwat, the Kingdom’s leading property developer and retailer.
In partnership with Genting Plantations, the company has already opened two premium outlets in Malaysia – in Johor in 2011, and in Genting Highland in 2017.
“We are bringing to Thailand and Bangkok high-quality brands and a shopping experience. We understand the needs of customers and tenants. We are able to leverage different customers all over the world whether in Asia, North America or Europe,” said Akujuo.
“We continue to expand overseas both on existing and new properties, such as in Canada and Mexico in North America, and in Spain in Europe. Asia and Southeast Asia, however, are a strategic focus for us,” said Akujuo, adding the company has a strong pipeline for future growth.
Akujuo said the company has partnered with local operators in particular markets where they have strong experience in the business. Their partners include Genting Plantations in Malaysia, Mitsubishi Estate in Japan, Shinsegae Group in South Korea, and McArthurGlen in the European market.
In Thailand, the company recently formed a joint venture with Siam Piwat to develop three locations for premium outlets in the Kingdom within the next five years. The first one will be to the east of Bangkok, while the other two will be in the North and South of Thailand.
Chollachat Meksupha, first executive vice president, business development and investment division of Siam Piwat, said the company will invest approximately Bt4 billion in the development of the first premium outlets in the eastern part of Bangkok in partnership with Simon Property Group.
He said Simon Property Group had posted US$5.5 billion in total revenue last year. International portfolio accounted for about 10 per cent of its net earnings.
Woodbury Common is Simon’s largest premium outlet mall in the world, occupying total retail space of 910,000 square feet with 240 stores selling international fashion brands.
Located 16 kilometers to the north of New York, the premium outlets were built in 1985 with only 85,000 square feet of retail space in the beginning.
Between 13 million and 14 million shoppers on average every year visit Woodbury Common of which 15 per cent are local people from New York state and 85 per cent are international travelers.
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