Savills Investment Management (Savills IM), on behalf of a group of investors, has paid around €300m for two McArthurGlen designer outlet centres in France.

The €18.3bn real estate investment manager has moved into the outlet sector with the acquisition of the assets in Troyes and Roubaix from real estate funds managed by Ares Management Corporation and from McArthurGlen.

Savills IM said the assets were bought behalf of a club of investors through a newly created group (OPPCI).

The investors comprise a number of institutions managed by a German multi-manager in real estate and alternatives investments as well as with commitments from existing Savills IM funds.

McArthurGlen retains a stake in both properties and will remain the operational manager of the two designer outlets.

Ian Jones, a director of investment at Savills IM, said: “In our view, as the importance of customer experience becomes more and more relevant, select acquisitions in the outlet sector offer opportunities to generate attractive distribution and internal rate of return.

Savills IM said debt was provided by Societe Generale and DWS.

“Furthermore, the deal is a testament to the strength and breadth of our operational platform as it required the ability to set up co-investment acquisition structures in the form of a new Spezialfond and OPPCI under challenging timescales, as well the placement of significant debt and ongoing fund management through teams across the UK, France and Germany,” Jones said.

In addition, Jones said Savills IM has been able to offer its in-house vehicles the ability to gain exposure to significant assets in this sector through the fund structure that would otherwise have been out of reach.

John Ruane, a partner in the Ares Real Estate Group, said: “We are very proud to have created significant value in the Troyes and Roubaix centres by growing the footfall, turnover and enhancing the shopper experience, and believe that their earlier-than-anticipated sale is a testament to the strength of these improved assets in such desirable markets.”

McArthurGlen introduced the concept of designer outlet shopping to France after it developed and opened Troyes in 1995, followed by Roubaix in 1999.

Troyes is the largest designer outlet in France, with over 100 stores, 30,000sqm of gross leasable space (GLA) and 1,700 parking spaces. Roubaix comprises 75 stores with 17,300sqm of GLA, 1,500 parking spaces.

Christophe Deshayes, McArthurGlen’s managing director for the UK, France and Belgium, said: “Having managed the Troyes and Roubaix designer outlets for many years, we are delighted to be partnering with Savills IM.”