“Sometimes, we make zero sales in a day” the salesclerk in one of the branded boutiques sighs, “The shop owner will text me several times a day and ask if I’ve sold anything. He thought it would help to cut prices, as did several other traders in the mall. But I don’t think that’s the problem. It’s an outlet mall so prices are already low. Instead of having sales and discounts, we just need people to come in.” he continued.
Prague The Style Outlets opened in May 2018 after years of delays. The main investor is the Kaprain Group, founded by Karel Pražák, a former close associate of billionaire Petr Kellner, the owner of the PPF Group. When building this outlet mall, they teamed up with the Spanish company Neiver.
A month ago, Kaprain announced that the management of the mall will be taken over by the Spanish operator. “Soon we will be able to introduce our business partners, and above all, our tenants to a number of new features. We are working hard on a new marketing strategy, tackling the arrival of new brands, and preparing for a possible enrichment services centre. We also have plans to develop the immediate surroundings together with the main investor,” said Tomas Duron, the new outlet manager.
Shops inside the mall are already closing
According to the company’s announcement, over 70 percent of the space has been leased at this time. But some of the first tenants are already shutting down their stores. For example, the Massimo Rebecchi store has been closed and all that’s left is a sign with contact details for customers who have complaints or returns.
The salesclerks kill time talking to each other about the fate of the outlet mall. According to some, the investors will wait until spring and then decide what happens. According to others, it’s clear that the second phase of development won’t even begin.
“The development of the outlet mall, including the opening of its second phase, is going according to plan. The intention is to build an amusement park and a hotel close to the mall,” claims Ondřej Pechar, the media representative of the Kaprain Group.
If the second phase of development goes ahead, and with the total area of more than 30,000 square meters of retail space, this would become the largest outlet mall in the Czech Republic. Currently, the largest outlet mall is the already established Fashion Arena outlet in Prague’s Štěrboholy. Unlike this new outlet mall, it does not target foreign visitors but instead has a well-established clientele of Prague locals and residents of nearby towns and villages. The developer and former Fashion Arena operator, TK Development, will open another outlet mall, the Outlet Arena Moravia, near Ostrava this month. The oldest outlet mall in the Czech Republic is the Freeport Fashion Outlet in Chvalovice-Hatě.
Author: Holly Webb