19 September 2016 – El Economista
Sambil Outlet, the largest outlet and leisure centre in Spain, located in Leganés (Madrid), will open its doors at the end of March next year, after an investment of €55 million and more than four years of work to prepare it for occupancy.
The new facilities, which will include the largest wind tunnel in Europe and will have a gross leasable surface area of 42,000 sqm, will open on the site of the ill-fated “M-40” shopping centre, which had remained closed for years before it was acquired by the Venezuelan group Sambil at the end of 2012.
“Fortunately, the project is going well despite the economic fluctuations in Spain. When we first got involved, the crisis was still very much alive”, explained the Director of Sambil España, Arnold Moreno, in an interview. He also said that the objective is to open the centre with an occupancy rate of at least 80%.
Sambil Outlet, which will provide direct employment for around 1,000 people, will generate another 1,500 indirect jobs and will house brands such as Inditex (with a shoe store), Mango, Fifty Factory (Cortefiel), Xti and Mustang. It is the Venezuelan group’s first project in Spain, but it will not be its last.
“It is our first foray into Spain. Financially, it would not be feasible for us to have just one centre in the country, given that our headquarters are located more than 7,000 km away”, said Moreno, who also indicated that his company is considering several alternatives in this regard.
Logically, in terms of possible locations for a new Sambil outlet, “we are looking at other major cities”, such as Barcelona, Valencia, Sevilla and Bilbao, but given that we are a family company and not an investment fund, we are being “very cautious”.
“We are convinced that, following the crisis, the Spanish population is demanding an excellent price/quality relationship, it wants smart purchases. There has been a change in this respect, people are taking more care with their spending”, said Moreno, who, by way of example, explained that in the last year just two new shopping centres have been opened compared with 150 outlets (where surplus high-end branded products are sold at low prices).
As for the extent to which the economic situation in Venezuela may affect the firm’s expansion in Spain, Moreno explained that, although it may weigh down on future operations, we have “been experiencing shortages for seventeen years, this situation is nothing new for us”.
“Our local businesses are still functioning but a very low efficiency because the country has a lot of economic, political and social problems”, he lamented. The Sambil group specialises in the construction of office buildings, homes, hotels and shopping centres.
Original story: El Economista
Translation: Carmel Drake