Hammerson is investing in a joint venture that will buy and manage European retail outlets, alongside APG, Meyer Bergman and Value Retail.
The UK REIT’s £70m (€89.6m) investment will give it a 47% stake in VIA Outlets, which will focus on European outlets that can benefit from strong retail tourism close to major European cities.
Hammerson has been building its exposure to outlet villages with a view to capitalising on an increase in global tourism, having previously bought a 22% stake in Value Retail, which manages Bicester Village in the UK and Kildare Village in Ireland, and is opening an outlet in Shanghai.
Hammerson announced that it was to inject a further £30m into Value Retail to help with new the Shanghai development and with extensions being built at Bicester and Kildare.
Hammerson chief executive, David Atkins said the investment in VIA Outlets was an “attractive opportunity” to increase its exposure to the European outlet shopping market, using Value Retail’s platform and relationships with luxury and premium retail brands.
VIA Outlets has bought two assets this year: Batavia Stad, Amsterdam’s first outlet centre, and Fasion Arena in Prague, the largest in the Czech Republic.
Speaking at EPRA’s annual conference in London this week, Value Retail founder Scott Malkin said Bicester Village was attracting a significant proportion of Chinese tourists visiting the UK.
Hammerson has also agreed to take full ownership of a shopping centre in Leicester for £180m.
The company bought the remaining 40% stake in Highcross from BIS, formerly the Royal Mail Pension Plan.
Atkins said full ownership would allow Hammerson to increase the shopping centre’s appeal to retailers and consumers and drive future sales. The centre is now Hammerson’s second largest after the Bullring in Birmingham.