Brand name bargains are on shoppers' lists when they visit Tanger Factory Outlet Centers. One of the top outlet mall developers (along with retail giant Simon Property and its Chelsea Property Group subsidiary), Tanger is a real estate investment trust (REIT) that develops, owns, and manages about 45 retail outlet centers in 25 states and Canada. A typical center has 75 stores and totals at least 300,000 sq. ft., housing shops from more than 400 brand name companies, including The Gap, Ralph Lauren, Ann Taylor, Phillips-Van Heusen, and Nike. Tanger's outlet centers, which maintain about 99% occupancy, are built away from malls and shopping districts, so tenants don't compete with their full-price stores.
Outlet mall stores share the same name as their brand name retail counterparts but sell merchandise at significant discounts due to overstock or off-season availability. Other retailers specifically earmark discounted merchandise to be sold at outlet stores. Outlet stores are also able to charge customers lower prices by eliminating the third-party retailer.
As a self-administered and self-managed REIT, Tanger Factory Outlet Center focuses exclusively on developing, acquiring, owning, operating and managing outlet shopping centers. REITs are exempt from paying federal income taxes as long as they distribute quarterly dividends to shareholders.
Tanger’s outlet malls are mostly concentrated along the East Coast. It also owns interests in three outlet malls in Canada – two in Quebec and one in Ontario. Its Canadian malls were built in 2011 in partnership with RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust.
Overall sales increased by 13% in 2012 to $357 million and profits shot up 20% to $53 million. The trust makes money on rent; as long as it has high occupancy rates and continues to open new malls, it is profitable. In fact, the outlet industry thrives during tough economic times as shoppers search for good deals.
Tanger Factory Outlet Centers has been aggressively marketing to higher volume tenants, replacing low-profile stores with the flash and appeal of trendier name brands. Attracting stronger, more popular apparel, footwear, and housewares brands allows Tanger to renew leases at higher base rents.
The REIT also continues to seek opportunities for new development or acquisition of shopping centers. In particular, the company targets markets that have at least 1 million residents and are located near high-traffic interstate highways.
Mergers and Acquisitions
To that end, in 2013 the company began building two new outlet malls to add to its property portfolio. One, near the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut, is being developed with Gordon Group Holdings, LLC. The 300,000 sq.-ft. mall will sit between two casino hotels for added foot traffic.
The other is being developed with rival Simon Property Group as a 50/50 joint venture. The 400,000 sq.-ft. Charlotte Premium Outlets in Charlotte, North Carolina will have about 90 stores. Tanger will provide site development and construction supervision, while Simon will provide management services and marketing. The first phase is expected to open in 2014.