WBEZ | Fashion Outlets of Chicago http://www.wbez.org/tags/fashion-outlets-chicago Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Multi-million dollar retail experiment opens by O’Hare http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/multi-million-dollar-retail-experiment-opens-o%E2%80%99hare-108245 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/shopping_130801_ay.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">A retail experiment opens Thursday in Rosemont near Chicago&rsquo;s O&rsquo;Hare International Airport.</p><p>Most outlets are in remote areas, but the Fashion Outlets of Chicago is next to the Kennedy Expressway, the airport, and not too far from downtown Chicago.</p><p>Retail consultant Neil Stern says mall developers nationwide will be watching this experiment.</p><p>&ldquo;Not only is this the most well connected outlet mall in Chicago, it might be the most well-connected outlet mall in the country,&rdquo; Stern says.</p><p>Unlike traditional outlet malls, this one is indoors, features art installations from a <a href="http://theartsinitiative.com/">group of 11 artists</a>, and services for travelers. For example, flyers can print boarding passes and check bags directly to their flight from the mall.</p><p>But these amenities come at a price: more than $200 million.</p><p>Stern says the experiment comes at a time when <a href="http://business.time.com/2011/08/12/as-regular-malls-struggle-outlet-malls-are-booming/">outlet malls are growing quicker than traditional malls</a>. He adds that if it pays off, we could see similar developments around the country.</p><p>Developers say this outlet is meant to function differently than other outlets. Retailers and manufacturers used to build outlets either to get rid of merchandise they can&rsquo;t sell, or separate the customers who will pay a premium for cutting edge products and those will travel to buy for the same brand at a lower price, says Jean-Pierre Dubé, a marketing professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. That&rsquo;s why outlets aren&rsquo;t particularly close to major cities.</p><p>Stern says manufacturers now have a different reason to sell at outlets -- they want direct access to their customers for greater profits. He points to companies like Coach, Apple and Tiffany, businesses that rely on selling directly to customers and as a result, became some of the most successful retailers.</p><p>Arthur Weiner, chairman of Fashion Outlets of Chicago developer AWE Talisman, agrees. He says the artwork and other services not found at other outlet malls give businesses a greater opportunity to show brand pride. He also sees this as the outlet to change all outlets.</p><p>&ldquo;The product that was being presented in America was a very stale product, outdated, underdeveloped, didn&rsquo;t have the ingredients that consumers wanted,&rdquo; Weiner says. &ldquo;When we were presented with the opportunity for this piece of exquisite dirt, we saw the vehicle for the change that we thought was necessary for outlet shopping.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Alan Yu is a WBEZ metro desk intern. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/Alan_Yu039">@Alan_Yu039</a></em></p></p> Wed, 31 Jul 2013 12:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/multi-million-dollar-retail-experiment-opens-o%E2%80%99hare-108245