The Shopping Centre industry has experienced an influx of investment in the last 12 months, with the start of large scale developments such as Westfield Bradford and the announcement of a new joint investment fund between M&G and Aberdeen Asset Management. However, whilst these larger advances are indeed encouraging, it is investment elsewhere along the Shopping Centre spectrum which has particularly caught our eye here at Foundation Recruitment.
Planned and current investment in smaller regional schemes has been extremely active of late and has been identified in JLL’s Property Predictions Report for 2014 as the trend set to continue for the coming year. This report highlights the active role of retailers in pushing the demand for space at a select number of prime retail locations in Winchester, Bath, Oxford and Edinburgh to name a few. Investment in small and mid-sized schemes such as the Botley Centre in Oxfordshire and the addition of new retailers at the Straiton Retail Park in Edinburgh, mirror the need for developers to modernise their regional schemes with a vibrant retail and leisure offering.
The demand for retailers to secure space at these smaller developments has hailed another interesting change identified by JLL; around a third of Top 200 UK Shopping Centres have seen retailer rents rise above their pre-crash levels. Such changes are an encouraging sign of retailers and developers looking to capitalise as consumers begin to spend more consistently. It seems an appropriate prediction that this increasing economic positivity will bring changes to the market for Shopping Centre Management jobs as growing confidence and new exciting opportunities encourage more people to reassess their options and take the next step in their career. With this in mind we are likely to see heightened competition for roles at small and mid-sized schemes.
However, this is not the only development we are expecting at Foundation Recruitment, as the retail sector continues to recover and investment grows, expansion in the size of management teams is anticipated. The past 6-12 months have seen a rise in the number of Operations Management, Marketing Management and Deputy Management vacancies signalling investment not only in the schemes themselves but also in the expansion of human capital hired to make them successful in a market which, while experiencing growth, remains highly competitive.
As a result, 2014 is set to be a challenging, exciting and busy year for everyone at Foundation Recruitment as investment in smaller Shopping Centres and their management structures continues to expand.