Sunday 11 December 2016

Visitor numbers surge at Kildare Village following €50m expansion

High-spending shoppers from China targeted by retail outlet

Published 06/11/2016 | 02:30

Kildare Village's business director Andrew Marshall
Kildare Village's business director Andrew Marshall

The luxury fashion outlet Kildare Village expects full-year revenues to be up by 28pc in 2016, following the opening of a €50m extension a year ago.

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Visitor numbers are now close to four million a year, an increase of 30pc, according to the shopping outlet's business director Andrew Marshall.

He said like-for-like sales were up 8pc in the current year, a trend which is expected to continue in 2017.

International visitor numbers are growing strongly from a small base, with high-spending shoppers from China being targeted by the shopping outlet.

Accounts for three companies that own and manage Kildare Village have just been filed for 2015.

Value Retail, the company which owns Kildare Village, has nine outlets around Europe.

Value Retail Management, the property management and services arm of the business, showed that revenue was €10.1m in 2015, up from €8.1m in the previous year. Pre-tax profits were almost €200,000.

Kildare Retail Services, which provides marketing expertise, had revenues of €10.5m and pre-tax losses of €1.2m.

Value Retail Dublin (VRD) is the real estate arm of the firm and charges licence fees and services charges to tenants. It had revenues of €8m and gross profit of €4.6m.

After finance costs of €7.3m, VRD recorded a pre-tax loss of €6.9m, bringing retained losses to €52m.

Marshall, right, said this reflected the ongoing significant investment in the business and added the debt levels were in line with its business model. He said: "We're very much committed to the Irish market and are investing.

"When we launched with phase two, we launched with 13 new stores on the day. Since then, we have launched another 14 new brands."

There are now more than 90 stores in the village.

Marshall said last week that DVF, the label founded by Diane von Furstenberg, would open in the coming weeks, as would luxury label Escada. Other new names include New Balance, Sarah Pacini, Pretty Ballerinas and a Polo Ralph Lauren children's store.

The stores in the village offer discounts of at least 33pc, although reductions can be significantly higher. "By the end of the year we will be 90pc occupied," Marshall added.

He said that Ireland's high Gross Domestic Product growth levels meant that brands were keen to open shops here.

"Ireland is very much on the radar," said Marshall. "There is a renewed interest from Chinese people in the market, largely because Ireland is seen as a safe place."

There have been reports that a third phase is planned for the centre.

Marshall added: "We are looking at our options for the longer term."

The accounts for VRD showed that last year the company entered into an agreement to buy an option to purchase land adjacent to Kildare Village, subject to obtaining planning permission. The option expires in December 2018.

The directors believe the value of its current investment property is €101m, up from €63m in 2014.

Meanwhile, more than five acres of prime retail land, located beside Kildare Village, sold for €470,000 at auction this week.

The 5.8-acre site was up for auction alongside 44 acres. The 44-acre site was withdrawn at €2.3m and its sale is under negotiation. It was on the market for €2.6m, and is located directly opposite the Kildare Village outlet. It has planning permission for an enterprise and employment development, which could lead to new jobs in the area.

The smaller site had a guide price of €425,000,

Both pieces of land have been earmarked for potential use. The 5.8-acre site has been zoned for industrial and warehouse use, and there is also planning permission granted for a drive-thru, a hotel, retail units and offices.

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