How VIA Outlets has bucked the retail downturn

Freeport Lisboa outlet centre

VIA Outlets CEO Otto Ambagtsheer shows Alex Howlett around Freeport Lisboa and reveals how creating centres with local character is helping the firm expand in Europe.

At the restaurant we have lunch at before our tour of Freeport Lisboa, he stops a waiter to praise the starter. Later, he jokingly congratulates Nuno Oliveira, VIA’s regional business director for Iberia, for the panoramic view over the Vasco da Gama bridge, which connects the area the outlet is located in to Lisbon.

Ambagtsheer has good reason to feel proud. Since the company was founded in 2014, it has acquired 11 centres across nine countries, making it the fastest-growing owner-operator of outlet centres in Europe.

Having achieved double-digit growth in the first half of 2019 and increased footfall by 8%, it is now worth £1.6bn – at a time when many retail landlords are struggling to stay afloat. So what is it about this “new kid on the block”, as Ambagtsheer describes VIA, that has enabled it to defy the odds?

This content is only available to registered users

You must be logged in to continue

Gated access promo

Would you like to read more?

Register for free to finish this article.

Sign up now for the following benefits:

  • Four FREE articles of your choice per month
  • Breaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happens
  • Choose from our portfolio of email newsletters

To access this article REGISTER NOW

Would you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £6 per week.

Registered users and subscribers SIGN IN here to continue