Allbirds is one of some 30 new tenants signed by Tanger since September

Al Urbanski
Real Estate Editor & Manager
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New to Tanger are Allbirds, Mack Weldon, and Radley London.

Tanger Outlets is close to matching its 2019 occupancy rate after seeing it drop five points in 2020.

Leasing activity has been gangbusters of late for the Greensboro, N.C.-based chain of 38 outlet centers, which reports the addition of nearly 30 new tenants this quarter.

New to the chain is the sustainable footwear and apparel brand Allbirds, which opened recently at Tanger Outlet Phoenix. Other newcomers include Mack Weldon, Roller Rabbit, Radley London, and Huk and Zwilling J.A. Henckels.

Indications are that Tanger’s third quarter chainwide occupancy rate of 96.5% could surpass 2019’s 97.1% rate by year’s end if leasing activity continues apace.

"Our leasing strategy is centered around giving shoppers access to extraordinary brands in diverse categories, which helps to solidify Tanger as their preferred retail destination,” said executive VP of leasing Justin Stein.

Along with other outlet chains, Tanger’s key strategy for accelerating leasing deals is the introduction of tenants not historically seen in outlet centers. Tops on the company’s hit list are food & beverage, entertainment, experiential, and digitally native retail concepts.

The company has begun using specialty brokers to help achieve this goal, which is designed to attract new traffic and increase visit frequency and dwell time.

Under CEO Stephen Yalof, who led Simon’s Premium Outlets division for six years before taking the helm at Tanger in 2021, operations have been decentralized to allow field managers to have more say in the tenant composition and direction of their centers.

Tanger has also invested more time and money in building tenant sales by developing marketing strategies for each asset by funding advertising and soliciting sponsorships.

Those activities “have led to NOI growth, improvement in rent spreads, longer lease terms, and higher occupancy,” wrote Yalof in the company’s third quarter report. “Our open-air shopping destinations are gaining elevated and digitally native brands, iconic food and beverage, and entertainment uses that connect Tanger shoppers with the brands, value, and experience they desire.

Tanger’s same-center net operating income increased 7.4% to $158 million in the first half of 2022, up from $147.1 million for the first half of 2021.

The glowing financials have led Tanger to break ground on a new center in Nashville and form a strategic partnership at Tanger Outlets Palm Beach.