Mph Trading has opened a new outlet shopping centre on
Valimotie in Helsinki. “The idea was to create an experience that offers the shopper a pleasant environment in which to make quality purchases without queuing,” describes the company’s CEO Petri Herpiö.
At the same address but in smaller premises there had previously been a Guess outlet that already had about 250 customers per day. It also had about one thousand regular customers.
When an entire floor of business premises became available, Herpiö decided to execute the plan that he had formulated after visiting the FoxTown Factory Outlet Center near Lugano in Switzerland. FoxTown is a centre the size of a village that sells quality products, where a wise consumer can find real bargains.
The sounds of construction could still be heard at the new outlet centre in Pitäjänmäki just a few days before the opening, but the final inspections had already been arranged and the moment of truth was only one labour-filled weekend away.
According to Herpiö, transforming the premises from a fitness centre to business premises went smoothly despite the large renovation.
“We have encountered no problems at all, but the stricter government regulations regarding fire alarms, ventilation and the amount of extinguishers came as a surprise. But luckily we managed everything almost according to schedule.”
One and a half years of development
Herpiö and his contact from Sponda, Eero Junni, developed the idea of an outlet centre for about one and a half years. The result was a 1,500 square metre outlet bursting with the latest fashions. It is estimated to entice 500-600 shoppers every day.
“There are 30,000 people working in the area and 10,000 people pass here by train every day. The train to the Valimo station takes only 12 minutes. Due to the parking spaces the location suits customers from farther away as well,” Herpiö emphasises.
The premises have its separate areas for Guess, Calvin Klein, Liu-Jo, Nike and quality cosmetics. In addition, the centre offers premises for three pop up stores that will be leased for one month at a time.
“I know several importers and shop keepers who are continuously left with goods on shelf. Organising friends and family sales is laborious but a fixed sales location is an easy way to reach consumers. We always want to give the shoppers something new. We have also acquired other labels from Italy to make our customers happy. We are working on acquiring some interesting brands that are not yet available in Finland,” says Herpiö.
Logistics in order
The centre has invested in logistics. The status of the goods in the shop is presented in the stock in real time. New goods are brought in immediately after something is sold.
“Our cash register operations are also centralised. The customer can pay for everything in one go, even if the products were from the shops of different labels,” says Marika Huovinen, Head of Marketing at Mph.
For the increased satisfaction of customers there is also a sushi restaurant, an ice cream bar and a café with the possibility of watching sport channels. For kids we have a separate corner with videos, toys and drawing boards.
“As a mother of a young child I myself know very well how difficult it can be to go shopping with kids. When my husband stays in the sushi bar or in the café to watch our child play I can go shopping peacefully,” Huovinen says delightedly.
The outlet boom is international
According to Huovinen, outlets are very popular internationally as well. She talks about an outlet boom.
“In times of financial difficulties, people focus on price in addition to quality. The concept of outlet raises interest. We offer customer service and quality products just like boutiques, only with cheaper prices.”
Mph took out a five year long lease on the Pitäjänmäki premises because Herpiö trusts in the concept.
Sponda, too, has been excited about the project according to Herpiö. The lessor participated in the planning and took care of part of the renovations. The construction architect Juha Luojus made the preliminary layout plans and Innovarkki, an international architecture firm specialised in business premises, participated in designing the interior.
“Our own visualists have done quite a large part of the work. Brands require a certain way of presenting goods,” Huovinen reminds.