NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Black Friday has been described as the busiest shopping day of the year and, thanks to the advent of the outlet center, many shoppers are now likely to enjoy cashing in on the bargains today.
According to SNL Financial, there are around 205 outlet centers in North America valued at around $27.6 billion, up by over 250 percent or $7.7 billion in 2009. A large part of the outlet growth has been driven by six publicly traded REITs that combined own 137 outlet properties.
The two largest players, Tanger Factory Outlets (SKT - Get Report) and Simon Property Group (SPG - Get Report) , account for a majority of the U.S. outlet growth with over 63 million square feet of bargain-based store space.
With roots going back as far as 1981, Greensboro-based Tanger is the only "pure play" REIT with 40 outlet centers located in 26 states coast to coast and in Canada, totaling approximately 12.9 million square feet leased to over 2,700 stores operated by more than 460 different brand name companies.It was Stanley Tanger, CEO from inception thru 2009, who was the catalyst for the Tanger Factory Outlet brand. He was responsible for turning the city of Burlington, N.C., into a destination for shoppers who often arrived by the busload. Tanger died a little over two years ago and his son, Steven B. Tanger (president & CEO), has excelled under the company's leadership by following his father's bold and dynamic management style. One of the most compelling investment attributes for the Tanger brand is the attractive supply dynamics. Tenant demand for outlet space continues to increase and new supply is limited, with only a few disciplined public REIT developers that have access to capital and the expertise to deliver new projects. I recently caught up with CEO Steve Tanger and he explained his company's value proposition: "It is really all about the experience. Shoppers want destinations where they can shop, save and have fun, that have energy and are fashionable. We try to make our centers unique destinations that deliver on in all of these areas. It's about creating the experience to fit our shopper, not making the experience what we want it to be. Typically our centers have an average of 75 -80 brand and designer outlet stores with savings of 30-70% off everyday."