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McArthurGlen ready for airport take-off

Discount designer outlet operator McArthurGlen is planning to open a full-price format in UK airports.

The company, which runs seven outlet centres in the UK, including Cheshire Oaks, is in talks with airport operators in Europe to launch a new format. The concept has a working title of Collezioni.

McArthurGlen chairman Joey Kaempfer said the move followed a collaboration with Italian trade association Altagamma, which represents upmarket Italian labels including Ermenegildo Zegna, Gucci and Valentino, which would help develop full-price luxury malls as well as off-price designer outlets.

He said: "We wanted to expose new brands to new customers and build critical mass. There's a lot of quality goods and tourists with disposable income at airports. You know the profile of the shoppers there. Although only about 15% of the US population is supposed to have a passport, that proportion is among the highest spenders. We could do a 30,000 sq ft shop with 30 brands plus a restaurant."

McArthurGlen has seven UK designer outlet centres selling brands including Armani, Burberry, Hugo Boss, Diesel and Puma at discounts of up to 70%.

Kaempfer added that he was hoping to attract other UK and European upmarket brands to sell in the new format.

McArthurGlen is also spending £100 million over three years on refurbishing its shopping centres. It will open its fourth Italian outlet this autumn at Noventa di Piave, near Venice.

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