Shopping Centres: More important Than Ever

A striking fact to come out of GlobalData’s recent report is the top 50 UK schemes contribute £17.4bn in consumer spending each year: 5% of the overall spend on non-food retail and leisure, demonstrating just how key these destinations are to the wider UK retail market.

However, it’s not just financially these shopping centres are helping to support our communities…

Shopping centres are becoming increasingly experiential and constantly implementing new initiatives to accommodate people struggling with everyday life. They are a family destination, an exciting trip for children and an escape from the humdrum of everyday life. The number of events, promotions, pop-ups, decorations, tenant mix and celebrity visits, are making shopping centres a place everyone can enjoy!

Revo have found there are huge benefits for centres engaged within their local communities, showing an 85% increase in customer self-esteem, an 81% improvement of health and wellbeing and a 75% reduction in anti-social behaviour. Shopping centres are making people feel good and are giving people more pride in their town, these benefits can’t be obtained from online shopping.

Shopping centres also combat issues of loneliness, a great example being the dementia friendly shopping centre, The Junction in Northern Ireland. All retailers within this centre have been trained to help people with dementia and clear signage has been installed to make the centre more accessible. These actions are allowing those who suffer from dementia regain their independence, not only is this helping people, it is increasing awareness and support of the illness.

Shopping centres are also increasingly helping people with disabilities and mental health issues. Recently, Derry Shopping Centre introduced a new sensory room to help children with autism, providing comfort and calm away from the busy centre crowds. The intu group has also introduced quiet hours for autistic shoppers and their families who struggle with lights, music and noise, in which every part of the centre will dim lights and music to create a comfortable environment.

Students with mental illnesses are now being encouraged to open-up about their feelings within safe spaces at intu shopping centres. Mental health foundation, Blurt, has partnered with intu to run sessions at several student shopping nights across their portfolio. This offering will deliver the opportunity for students to gain support during their first few weeks of the new academic year. In addition to this, intu have installed a giant 50 ft sun following their happiness survey which revealed four in five Brits feel happier when it’s sunny. Both of these campaigns are a fantastic demonstration of how shopping centres can really impact a shopper’s mindset and well-being.

Shopping centres are more important than ever before. Online shopping may pose threats to sales, but physical centres are bringing an increasing number of benefits which a computer screen can’t compete with. Shopping Centres are the hub of local communities, proving a safe, clean and fun environment for consumers to socialise, shop, dine, meet friends and enjoy truly unique experiences.

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