International tenants flock to Freeport’s expanded outlet centre in Lisbon
Freeport, the retail outlet operating unit of Carlyle Europe Real Estate, has reached almost 100% occupancy at its Alcochete outlet retail centre near Lisbon following the completion of a new extension that is due to open today. International retailers including Helly Hansen, Claire’s, PreNatal and Dockers have signed up to eight of the 10 new units, the company´s CEO Iestyn Roberts told PropertyEU.
´Tenant demand for our outlet centre has been very strong,’ he noted. ‘Portugal is not an easy retail market at the moment and spending cuts are biting significantly. But in December we saw 10% more customers.’
The extension at the Alcochete centre adds a further 1,500 m2 of gross lettable area (GLA), increasing the total GLA dedicated to retail to almost 43,000 m2 and occupancy to 98%. The remaining two units are currently under offer.
Freeport claims its Alcochete centre is the largest of its kind in Europe with over 140 shops plus 20 restaurants and restaurants and a major exhibition space. It is located in Alcochete, close to the centre of Lisbon, near the Vasco da Gama bridge on the south side of the river Tejo. In addition to Portugal, Freeport owns outlet centres in the Czech Republic, and Sweden.
In total, Freeport owns 114,700 m2 of outlet space across these three countries and has an additional 45,000 m2 in development in France and Germany. The company also manages another 14,000 m2 of retail space on behalf of other owners. Following the launch of Freeport Retail late last year, the company is seeking to expand its asset management and consultancy services to developers, investors and asset owners in the retail sector internationally.
While declining to give details, Roberts said Freeport has seen its revenue and profitability increase each year since its acquisition by US private equity group Carlyle in 2007. The London-based operator reported a record 22% increase in net income in the year ended June 2011, largely as a result of asset management initiatives which increased occupancy levels in virtually all of its operated outlet centres. Average occupancy across the portfolio stands at over 98%, with Kungsbacka in Sweden having reported the strongest income growth over the past 12 months, up 35% year-on-year.
Carlyle Europe Real Estate has six units cross Europe in Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Milan, Paris and Stockholm which advise three Luxemburg based European property funds - Carlyle Europe Real Estate Partners I-II. The total value of the funds’ assets under management amount to EUR 3.4 bn. The Carlyle Group closed its first property fund in the US in 1997 and has since then been a sponsor for another 10 property funds in the US Europe, Asia and Latin America. The total value of assets under management amounts to $11 bn (EUR 8.4 bn).