How to Attract & Retain Quality Tenants

Attracting and retaining the right tenants in shopping centres is what keeps shopping centre leader’s up at night!

In order to attract and retain these tenants, management teams need to build a strong strategy; understand the local demographic and consumer profile, and plan initiatives to engage with existing and new tenants.

What do tenants want?

Visibility; high traffic; entertainment and events; relationships, the list goes on. Tenants are becoming increasingly harder to capture and the market is getting progressively more competitive. This has resulted in tenants having the power to demand more from centre owners/operators – and they are!

Strong anchor tenants are crucial; according to Marije Braam-Mesken, Head of EMEA Retail Strategy & Research at CBRE Global Investors – strong anchor tenants attract more than 30% of the total footfall. This footfall is vital, ultimately, the schemes footfall is what tenants are paying for. Smaller and nearby tenants massively benefit from anchor tenants as they have a key influence on driving footfall and help to build the centres awareness. The type of retailer the anchor tenant is; be it a value, fashion or a supermarket, really sets the tone for other potential tenants.

Entertainment and events – holding events or pop up commercialisation entertainment units are an excellent way to drive footfall – tenant’s close by to these events will especially benefit from increased traffic. Shopping centres often hold events such as ‘student nights’ or ‘fashion evenings’ or use commercialisation units such as ‘Santa’s grotto’ or ‘book signings’ to promote the scheme and entice consumers to visit.

Tenants want and expect management teams to hold regular activities to ensure there is a constant stream of footfall.

Relationships – tenants want a personal relationship with the shopping centre team to strategise ways to improve footfall. Also, having face to face contact gives tenant’s confidence that any building issues will be dealt with quickly and effectively.

Building strong relationships increases the likelihood of tenants leasing space in another of the landlord’s centres – a great way to build the tenant base if an additional centre was to be added to a portfolio.

Marketing strategies – tenants want to be confident that centres implement a strong and adapting marketing strategy to continuously drive footfall into the scheme. This strategy needs to be vast to ensure that all different ages and demographics are captured. If a scheme has a strong tenant mix then each tenant may use different platforms and tactics in their marketing strategies – centres need to be capable of using their platforms in order to work together to create strategies to drive traffic to their store.

Location and positioning play a key factor in a tenant’s success, they need to be strategically positioned in order to thrive in the centre’s environment. They need to be placed nearby stores that will attract a similar consumer profile to widen the size of their target audience, allowing them to benefit positively from the centre’s footfall. Consumers want convenience in every aspect of their shopping experience; including having the stores they visit close by.

Tenant mix is now critical for a schemes footfall, consumers expect a varied choice – shopping centres are not only a place to shop, they are a place to meet friends, eat and enjoy leisure activities. Tenants want to be in centres that have a dynamic and varied mix as they are aware this will drive footfall much higher.

There are numerous factors contributing to attracting and retaining tenants, much more than I have touched on above, but, centre operators need to be utilising any opportunities they can, influencing any factors within their power to keep current tenants happy and appeal to new.

Katrina Whitehead, Senior Marketing Executive, Foundation Recruitment

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