Shopping Centre Trends for 2016

It is safe to say that as we reach the mid-year point, the first 5 months or so have flown by! As we look back at the YTD, it is apparent that 2015’s key trends have remained consistent throughout the shopping centre sector; there are ongoing leisure developments, a huge focus on customer experience and journey, as well as the constant battle of bricks vs clicks! As specialist recruiters in the sector, we have observed an increase in the need to employ retail focused individuals with the ability to build relationships with tenants; to support them in driving turnover and to understand sales performance throughout centres. Obtaining and analysing sales data from tenants can be a mundane task and is often seen as a burden, but with the ever growing number of variables affecting the success of our schemes throughout the UK, it is quickly becoming one of the most beneficial tools to provide the platform for better decisions and more effective asset management strategies.

How do we get this data?

In a recent meeting with Foundation Recruitment, Director of Property Management Research at Savills, Stephen Toal, explained it is down to landlords and managing agents throughout the sector to upskill their centre management teams to work effectively with their tenants and obtain sales data so we can really get to grips with what works in our centres and what doesn’t!

When Reporting Research…

According to Stephen “less is more” when it comes to reporting analytics. The more concise the information, the easier it is for our centre management teams and tenants to digest the information as well as produce initiatives to improve the statistics YoY and inevitably drive asset value!

Key industry trends to look out for…

At the BCSC Conference in Brighton earlier this year, Stephen highlighted key industry trends including the improving performance of sporting goods and jewellery sectors and the drop-off in womenswear. He also made note of the interesting growth in the homeware sector, as a result of more people refurbishing their own homes for sale ahead of the rise in Stamp Duty in April this year.

Throughout the retail property industry, retailers and centre management teams are incorporating changes to adapt to the increase in technology and changes in consumer behaviour.

Bricks vs Clicks

It is no news that physical stores have been fighting to compete with online sales for a considerable period now. Stephen highlighted in his BCSC SCM Conference 2016 speech that online and offline shopping will eventually merge – something which we already see taking shape as retailers and shopping centres integrate omni-channel strategies like Click & Collect and CollectPlus.

Consumer Behaviour

As the retail industry adapts to entice consumer spending they are actually encouraging the customer to expect a better bargain by launching new offers to encourage in-store sales.

What we need to do…

Now, more than ever, it is crucial for centre management teams to deliver enticing events, tenant mixes and promotions to ensure the shopping experience is as attractive to the demographic as possible. Data analysis is key in delivering these initiatives effectively by understanding who is visiting, how long they are staying, where they are shopping, what they are buying, what they are eating and drinking and most importantly, how much are they spending?

Stephen believes this is an exciting period in retail property history as we embrace the digital age, and that in order to move forward centre management teams and tenants must work together collaboratively to produce initiatives which strive for online and offline success.

Alex Rowbottom, Divisional Head of Destination Retail, Airports, BIDs & FM, Foundation Recruitment

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