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EXCLUSIVE: Simon’s Woodbury Common Premium Outlets Sets Elevated Experience

The popular destination for shopping designer outlets is upping its game with a VIP suite, another wave of store openings this year, and a 155,000-square-foot expansion.

EXCLUSIVE: Simon’s Woodbury Common Premium Outlets Sets Elevated Experience

Rendering of the future retail expansion at Woodbury Common.

Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, a mecca for bargain hunters and home to scores of designer labels, is elevating its already high-end outlet experience.

This year, 20 new outlets will open, on top of the 20 that opened or expanded last year. Among the brands soon to open are Bollicine Champagne Bar, MCM, Rothy’s, Helly Hansen, Hollister, KidsAround, Blank Street, Purple and Hobbs.

Openings so far this year and through 2023 were David Yurman, Roberto Cavalli, Maison Margiela, Ladurée, Bogne, Sferra, Jil Sander, Zadig & Voltaire, Eleventy, Wilson’s Sporting Goods, and Reformation.

On the luxury side, the center’s collection of 70 brands includes Dior, Gucci, Prada, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Fendi, Loro Piana, Brunello Cucinelli, Loewe, Burberry, Alexander McQueen, Moncler, Balenciaga and Céline.

Meanwhile, Arc’teryx, Tory Burch, Marc Jacobs and Golden Goose are all expanding their footprints, and a VIP suite is expected to be up and running by the fourth quarter, promising a high level of personalized service and plenty of fashion-oriented experiences for big spenders.

“Woodbury Common will have a beautiful VIP suite catering to both our retailers and the customers. Brands will be able to set specialized events and shopping experiences in that space,” Mark Silvestri, Simon Property Group‘s president of development, told WWD. “It will be really unique.”

Simon owns and operates Woodbury Common, which is part of Simon’s Premium Outlets portfolio.

The suite, with 2,500 square feet, will have a catering room, a lounge, a kitchen, private dressing rooms, private sales events, and will stage fashion shows, special showings, and stylists will curate wardrobes for high-end shoppers.

EXCLUSIVE: Simon’s Woodbury Common Premium Outlets Sets Elevated Experience

Mark Silvestri

“Each retailer will be able to activate the VIP space at different times. They might bring in a personal stylist to work with their clients one-on-one or in a group format, but there may be some co-branded events within this suite where retailers actually work together,” explained Lee Sterling, Simon’s chief marketing officer. “We will coordinate co-branded events. Actually we do a lot of this now, where we bring stylists up to Woodbury Common. They work with the brands. They work with their clients to create curated experiences, but we’ve never had that special, separate space to create an elevated experience.”

Woodbury Common has an ambitious expansion plan (announced last year) that calls for an additional 155,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, bringing the center to over one million square feet; a parking deck with 3,000 spaces to help relieve traffic jams that can occur; a 200-room hotel, and even a helipad. Silvestri said Woodbury Common’s expansion project will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, though he declined to specify the cost of the expansion. There have been media reports placing the cost at around $250 million.

Asked how the project is progressing, Silvestri said, “We’re going through entitlements now and the approval process. We’re deep in the process with the community and the state, and that’s going well. We should see the first pieces open in 2026, which will be the new parking garage and then the shops will open after that.” This is the fifth expansion at Woodbury Common, which next year turns 40.

EXCLUSIVE: Simon’s Woodbury Common Premium Outlets Sets Elevated Experience

A rendering of the planned hotel at Woodbury Common.

According to the Simon executives, Woodbury Common generated sales of $375 million in the fourth quarter of 2023, and just over $1.2 billion in sales for all of 2023. The outlet center receives 10 million guests annually, supported by the variety of public transportation options from New York City, including buses from the Port Authority, private shuttles and the Metro North railway. By car, Woodbury Common is about an hour north of the city.

Asked why Woodbury Common is such a big draw, Silvestri said, “People really come for the brands. It’s got just the the best brands in the world, and everybody knows them. Great brands and great deals.

“People also come because it’s a fun adventure for a day out of the city. It’s a beautiful open-air, outdoor setting. Hudson Valley is just bucolic, and it’s not far from the city. It’s just a beautiful setting. New generations of people continue to discover Woodbury Common.” After visiting Woodbury Common, people take advantage of Hudson Valley’s trails for hiking and walking along the Hudson River, the Storm King Art Center, Dia: Beacon museum, and historic sites.

Woodbury Common will soon face a competitive challenge from Belmont Park Village, a 340,000-square-foot, high-end shopping complex under construction from Value Retail, which operates The Bicester Collection of open-air, service-oriented luxury centers in Europe and China. Belmont Park Village, the first North American outpost of the collection, expects to house about 160 shops, and is located in Elmont, Long Island, adjacent to the Belmont Park racetrack and the UBS Arena, on the border of Queens, N.Y., and 20 miles from Manhattan.

Asked if the expansion and enhancements underway at Woodbury Common, which bills itself as housing the largest collection of luxury outlets in North America, are a response to Belmont Park Village, Silvestri replied, “We’re really just focused 100 percent on making Woodbury Common the best it can be. This is the fifth major expansion we’ve done over the 40-year history of Woodbury Common, and we just continue to make it as good as it can be. These projects are complicated. They take time. They’re costly, obviously. So we do it thoughtfully. But we know this is the right time for this, and it’s just the latest enhancement. Woodbury Common is a force of its own. It’s world renowned…There’s been a waiting list for years. Everybody wants to be in Woodbury and there’s a scarcity of space.”

The project at Woodbury Common reflects “what we do with all of our properties across the country,” said Sterling. “We’re constantly reinvesting in them to make them the best they can be for the residents and tourists.”

EXCLUSIVE: Simon’s Woodbury Common Premium Outlets Sets Elevated Experience

Lee Sterling

Similar to the VIP service at Woodbury Common, Simon offers a “Privee” VIP service at The Colonnade Outlets, which is the luxury outlet wing of the massive Sawgrass Mills hybrid center for off-pricers, outlets and discounters located in south Florida. Simon also offers VIP services at its various properties in Asia.

Silvestri said 50 percent of Woodbury Common’s visitors are from overseas; 50 percent domestic. “The international [component] is part of the reason we’ve expanded with Premium Outlets into Japan, Korea, Malaysia, and now Indonesia. We’ve exported this brand, globally,” he said. “I don’t think people realize our global footprint, especially in the Premium Outlet sector. We’re under construction outside Jakarta, Indonesia, with a new outlet center. We’re expanding our outlets in Korea, and we opened our 10th center in Japan last year. We’ve been in Japan for over 20 years.”

In the U.S., Simon has 69 Premium Outlets and one under construction in Tulsa.  Internationally, Simon has ownership interests in 35 Premium Outlets and Designer Outlet properties primarily located in Asia, Europe and Canada.