Simon Property Group may be one of the largest mall operators in the U.S., but the retail real estate powerhouse is finally carving out an online path for its businesses. The company launched a beta test of Shop Premium Outlets (SPO), an online outlet shopping platform designed to help mall tenants boost traffic and sales across all channels.
Shoppers can save up to 65% off full retail prices on the online shopping platform, according to a company statement. Simon is currently piloting the SPO platform with members of its VIP Shopper Club. The test includes more than 300,000 products from approximately 2,000 brands. Simon plans a public launch, available to all shoppers, this spring.
Featured brands include Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, Karl Lagerfeld Paris, Aéropostale and Cole Haan, among others.
Simon currently generates 48% of its net operating income from U.S. malls and 42% from outlets, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal. The remaining business comes from international properties.
Simon’s holdings include 69 Premium Outlets properties nationwide, as well as ownership interests in 19 Premium Outlets outside of the U.S.
Last month, David Simon, Chairman, CEO and President of Simon, said the new platform would aim to leverage the company’s huge customer base — its more than 200 properties draw more than 100 million customers who make 2 billion visits a year — without undercutting its shopping center tenants.
As mall operators maneuver through store closures and slow traffic and seek to adapt to new shopper trends, they need all the help they can get from every platform possible. In particular, Simon has gone outside the box recently to fill these gaps, partnering with Green Growth Brands to open 108 shops within its malls that will sell CBD-infused products. On Black Friday 2018, Simon debuted “Launchpad by Simon,” a scalable platform designed for emerging and established brands to pilot new products in six major shopping centers.
Simon is thriving financially: The property owner generated a net income of $2.437 billion in 2018, compared to $1.945 billion in 2017, according to its annual earnings report. The leasing rate at its mall and outlet properties was roughly 96% as of Dec. 31, 2018.