It has been an extremely exciting start to 2014 at Foundation Recruitment. As we start to see an upturn in market confidence we are seeing an increase in surveying jobs especially across our Retail & Leisure Estates sector. Interestingly a large proportion of these have been project management/store fit out positions.
This push for project managers across the retail and leisure industry is in part due to a strong feeling across the sector that the improvement of the conditions of their stores is a necessity that needs addressing. The increasing popularity of retailers focusing on maintaining their current portfolio’s has seen limited new retail development and we are now in a period of redevelopment and refurbishment. The advantages of redevelopment over new developments are clear to see and as the focus of retailers shifts firmly towards the customer experience, stores must become an inviting and attractive place to shop.
As more businesses start to grow we will continue to see this demand for quality store fit out project managers. Recent news from companies such as Poundland who are targeting the acquisition of over 500 new stores shows just how busy the next 12-18 months are going to be.
Similarly to the retail sector, the leisure industry is starting to see an encouraging upturn in activity and this is also leading to an increase in refurbishment and redevelopment. Having worked closely with some of the UK’s leading licensed leisure businesses already this year there is a clear sentiment that there needs to be an overall review of portfolios to maintain property at a level that will continue to attract customers. This has included strategic approaches such as overall fit outs and asset management strategies, to conducting conditions surveys across the portfolio to ensure each site is kept to a certain standard.
Across the desks in our General practice team we are also starting to see some development roles come through. A number of these positions are focused on mixed use schemes incorporating retail, commercial and residential. These positions have been few and far between over the last 5 years- especially within the regional marketplace. With Manchester and Leeds continuing to lead the growth regionally we are seeing more retailers putting their faith back into these cities.
It is clear that the retail and leisure sector continues to face challenges but with the help of creative and strategic thinking project managers it is possible to continue to attract large numbers of shoppers through the creation of interactive, appealing shopping destinations. It’s in no surprise that brands such as Adidas have whole teams dedicated to developing new ways to appeal to the customer through innovative store design. This is something that all retailers and leisure businesses will continue to need to address in the ever increasing competitive market.