On 1 March 2018, the Kotka Old Port project selected the world’s leading operator of outlet centres, Freeport, as the operator. This confirmation of the operator is yet another significant step for the Kotka Old Port project. When completed, Kotka Old Port will not only provide shopping opportunities in line with the international outlet concept, but much more. The outlet centre will offer the visitor a unique array of experiences: food, culture, museums and entertainment. It will also provide a venue for various fascinating events throughout the year.
Freeport is one of the leading operators of outlet projects in Europe. So far, it has been in charge of 14 outlets in 10 different countries, totalling an area of 250,000 square metres. Freeport’s tenants manufacture some of the best-known brands in the world. The brands represented in its outlet in Denmark include Hugo Boss, Nike, Gant, Lacoste, Levis, Puma, Superdry and Guess. Its new outlet centre opening soon in France will include tenants such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Galerie Lafayette, The Kooples, Zadig & Voltaire and Ted Baker. Freeport has extensive expertise gained from the management team’s years of involvement with leading retailers across Europe and, for example, with McArthur Glen and Heron, the leading European developers of outlet projects and shopping and entertainment centres.
Freeport currently manages the Ringsted Outlet Centre near Copenhagen, in addition to which it has been in charge of the development of Freeport Kungsbacka in Sweden. The company is also developing one of the most prestigious new outlets in Europe, the Villefontaine near Lyon, France, which will be opened in May 2018. In July 2018, it will also open a large outlet near Manila in the Philippines. Over the last five years, Freeport has additionally been in charge of the development of new outlet projects in Malaysia – the Freeport Afamosa was opened in November 2015 – as well as in Italy and Slovakia. The company has actively evaluated potential sites also in St. Petersburg and the Baltic. Freeport has developed some of the most successful outlet centres in Europe, including Freeport Alcochete in Portugal, Hate in the Czech Republic and Roppenheim in France.
“Freeport is very excited to be the Operator of Kotka Old Port Outlet. Freeport is one of the oldest established and most successful global designer outlet managers with new centres opening this year in France and South East Asia. We have outlets all over the world, but we have always had a special affinity for the Nordics having established the most successful outlet in Sweden and managing Ringsted, Denmark’s leading outlet. We have been looking for a suitable opportunity in Finland for over 5 years. Outlets play an important role in helping brands clear surplus stock and giving customers the chance to buy their favourite brands at great prices – Finland needs a top class designer outlet and Kotka is the best for it,” says Freeport CEO Iestyn Roberts.
Offering a variety of experiences, Kotka Old Port will invigorate the Kotka region far and wide. The outlet concept will bring great financial benefits for those interested in a good bargain, because it allows manufacturers to sell their products at a lower price than classical shops – at a minimum discount of 35%. Kotka Old Port is significant from both the domestic and international points of view. For domestic tourists this unique destination with its numerous fascinating attractions is ideal, for example, as a weekend getaway; foreign visitors including the Chinese, Russians and the British are expected to find it particularly attractive for shopping and recreation. Chinese tourists visiting Russia increasingly like to extend their journey to nearby destinations, which makes the Kotka region particularly attractive. The Kotka Old Port project is progressing according to plan and will be opened in the autumn of 2019.