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Simon Group Pivoting Online To Push Outlet Shopping

Edinburgh outlet mall

(Steve Burns, WTIU/WFIU News) (Steve Burns)

Indianapolis-based shopping mall company Simon Property Group Inc. is testing an online shopping platform aiming to drive consumer traffic to its outlet stores across the nation at a time of rampant retail store closures.

Shop Premium Outlets is scheduled to launch to the general public this spring. The platform features a curated selection of nearly 2,000 brands and more than 300,000 products — some reduced as much as 65 percent off retail prices.

Highlighted brands include Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, Karl Lagerfeld Paris, Aéropostale and Cole Haan.

Simon Property Group, a real estate investment trust, said it's in the preliminary stages of testing the online shopping website with its VIP Shopper Club, which has about 4 million members nationwide.

David Simon, the company's CEO and president, said in a news release that the Premium Outlets platform aims "to drive incremental traffic and sales for brands and retailers, both online and in-store."

Chidi Achara, Simon's chief creative officer, said in an email to The Indianapolis Star that Shop Premium Outlets should serve as a complement to Simon's brick-and-mortar business.

He said that Shop Premium Outlets is being launched "because we identified a void for an online marketplace dedicated to outlet shopping, based on our research with consumers."

"With a total addressable market of over $200 billion and growing, there's an opportunity to create tremendous value for brands and shoppers by launching the world's premier online outlet destination," Achara said.

Vendors also are more likely to sell their retail products on a marketplace, rather than on their full price e-commerce site, he said.

Simon owns 69 Premium Outlets around the country, including one in Edinburgh, Indiana.

The company yielded a net income of $2.437 billion in 2018, compared with $1.945 billion a year earlier, according to its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings report.

Simon Property Group was co-founded by Mel Simon, who was the co-owner of the Indiana Pacers. He died in 2009.

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