Simon to invest $280 million in online sales partnership

Al Urbanski
Real Estate Editor & Manager
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Woodbury Commons
Woodbury Commons Premium Outlets in Central Valley, N.Y.

One good way to make up for sales lost to online sellers is to become an online seller yourself.

Big-time premium mall owner Simon Property Group, which has been testing a site called, has announced an agreement with online shopping site Rue Gilt Groupe to create a multi-platform venture dedicated to digital value shopping.

Simon operates 89 outlet centers, including Woodbury Commons in New York State, Orlando International Premium Outlets, Chicago Premium Outlets, and Las Vegas North and South Premium Outlets.

Simon maintains it will blend its “in-store retail leadership” with RGG’s e-commerce experience in a venture that will include RGG’s Rue La La and Gilt platforms as well as Shop Premium Outlets (SPO).

The Indianapolis-based mall operator will contribute approximately $280 million to the new venture including the value of the SPO site, which began a test run in March and officially debuted on October 2.

SPO presents shoppers with some 300,000 products from 2,000 designers, and Simon stated it expected to add many more merchants as the partnership progresses. It intends to tap its $100 million-plus annual marketing budget and access to two billion annual shopper visits to promote the site.

“Our strong capabilities in the physical outlet space, combined with RGG's exceptional e-commerce success, will give shoppers enhanced access to the world's best brands and the most compelling deals both online and in-store," said CEO David Simon in a statement. "We believe online value shopping presents a tremendous business opportunity for Simon, given our credibility, trust and relationships with brands, retailers and shoppers."

RGG CEO Mark McWeeny predicted the partnership would lead to the creation of an innovative new retail platform.

“Our expertise in e-commerce, data science, curation, and customer experience was the foundation for this partnership,” McWeeny said.