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Prime Outlets has been renamed Hagerstown Premium Outlets

Simon Property Group completed its $2.3 billion acquisition of the Baltimore-based Prime Outlets on Tuesday

September 03, 2010|By HEATHER KEELS

Prime Outlets Hagerstown has been renamed Hagerstown Premium Outlets following the completion of Prime Outlets' sale to Simon Property Group Inc., a company spokeswoman said.

Simon Property Group completed its $2.3 billion acquisition of the Baltimore-based Prime Outlets on Tuesday, adding 21 outlet centers to its outlet division.

That division, called Premium Outlets, is the largest collection of outlet centers in the world, with centers throughout the U.S. and in Japan, South Korea and Mexico, said Michele Rothstein, spokeswoman for Premium Outlets.

The name change will allow Premium Outlets to integrate the newly acquired centers into its global marketing program, she said.

"We believe it's associated with the highest level of outlet shopping, so now that Hagerstown has the Premium Outlets brand, we hope that will have an immediate positive effect," Rothstein said.

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The $2.3 billion price tag for Prime Outlets included the assumption of about $1.55 billion of Prime's debt, according to a press release from Simon Property Group. The other roughly $700 million was paid with about 80 percent cash and 20 percent in Simon common operating partnership units.

Before the acquisition, the closest Premium Outlets center to Hagerstown was the Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets, Rothstein said. She said traveling shoppers might be familiar with the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, a 220-store center about an hour north of New York City.

The newly acquired outlets will be phasing in the new names with temporary signs until a full rebranding can take place, Rothstein said.

Management staff at the Hagerstown center will remain the same, and Prime Outlets gift cards and coupons will continue to be honored, she said.

Rothstein said the Hagerstown center was a "beautiful property" with a "good, strong, loyal customer base," so the new owners will be looking to enrich what already is there.

"We will be looking at, how do we bring in new stores that are representative of the direction we want to take the property, which is keeping the quality high," Rothstein said.

In addition, she said Premium Outlets is "obsessed" with customer service and offers a free VIP shopper club that she described as "best of breed."

Angie Riford of Hagerstown Premium Outlets said the center's management is "thrilled" to be part of the new Premium Outlets family.

"We look forward to having the center benefit from their programs and vision," she said.

This summer, the center has seen the opening of new Lids, New Balance, children's Under Armour and Coldwater Creek stores, Riford said. In addition, a Talbots store is scheduled to open Oct. 1 and a Bare Escentuals store is slated to open Oct. 29, she said.

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