TIAA-CREF has entered a joint venture with Neinver to target European outlet malls in its first move into the retail sub-sector.

The US investor, through TIAA Henderson Real Estate, will invest in designer retail assets, with outlet specialist Neinver as asset manager.

The partnership said it acquired a 50% stake in The Style Outlets in Roppenheim, France and has also agreed to buy the Factory Outlet Annopol in Warsaw and a similar asset in Futura Park, Krakow.

The joint venture will also develop Neinver’s Viladecans The Style Outlets project in Barcelona, Spain.

David Turner, head of European Investment at TH Real Estate, said the partnership would allow the investor to penetrate the market further and broaden its geographic reach.

TH Real Estate has a $3bn (€2.5bn) global outlet mall portfolio, with assets in the UK, Continental Europe and China.

In April last year, Neinver took full control of MAB Development, a subsidiary of Rabo Real Estate Group.

MAB was previously in a joint venture with Neinver on a 50/50 basis, jointly targeting France, Germany and the Netherlands.

Neinver took over all ongoing projects in the partnership’s portfolio and pipeline.

The company, which last year reported an 12% increase in footfall at its centres and an 11% increase in sales, also manages the IRUS European Retail Property Fund.

Late last year, Hammerson said it was investing in a joint venture that would buy and manage European retail outlets, alongside APG, Meyer Bergman and Value Retail. 

The UK REIT’s £70m (€89m) investment gave 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.