S P R I N G -- 1 9 9 9P A G E4
Malls Continue to Grow as National Attraction, 33.8
Million Visit in 98
"We attribute this increase to discerning shoppers the ones who know that outlet shopping is a great way to find good quality merchandise at bargain prices throughout the entire year," said Andrew Groveman, president of the factory outlet mall division of Belz Enterprises.
In pursuit of those bargains, 7,683,512 shoppers flocked to the Belz Factory Outlet Mall in Las Vegas, representing an impressive 17 percent increase over last year's numbers, according to figures just released from its Year-End Shoppers Index, which monitors traffic at its outlet centers in Orlando, Las Vegas, Pigeon Forge (outside Knoxville) and Lakeland (outside Memphis).
The biggest factory outlet complex of them all, the 170-tenant, 700,000-square-foot Belz Factory Outlet in Orlando, and its neighboring 200,000-square-foot Belz Designer Outlet Centre, attracted a combined total of 15,264,543 visitors in 1998, a 4.5 percent increase over the previous year.
Tennessee's largest factory outlet center, Belz Factory Outlet World in Pigeon Forge, boasted a healthy 8.5 percent increase in traffic over 1997 figures, with 8,269,957 people visiting the center's 85 outlets.
And also in Tennessee, Belz Factory Outlet World in Lakeland, attracted 2,629,350 shoppers last year, a steady increase of 3.5 percent over 1997 figures. The Lakeland center, generally recognized as the first of its kind in the United States, opened its doors to shoppers in 1979 and has been a steady performer ever since, Groveman said.
A pioneer and industry leader in the development and management of factory outlet malls nationwide, Belz currently has two new Belz Factory Outlet World projects in advanced planning in St. Augustine and Puerto Rico. The St. Augustine project, currently under construction, is due to open this summer while the Puerto Rico project is slated to open in fall 2000.
Photo: Belz Factory Outlet World Orlando, Florida