Shopping Centres Aren’t For Shopping!

Shopping Centres are being forced to expand their leisure offerings. The growing choice today’s consumer has joint with their growing expectations are driving shopping centres to develop their services. Consumers no longer go to a Shopping Centre for the sole purpose of buying a product; centres have become venues for social and experiential purposes.

Shopping Centres are quickly acting upon this which can be seen through the continuous developments going on across the globe – it’s hard to walk through a major city without seeing cranes and construction work happening. Just this week British Land revealed details of a £300m leisure hall extension planned for Meadowhall and intu Lakeside has signed an agreement to create a Nickelodeon themed indoor family entertainment centre!

Intu are heavily investing in their centres to expand their leisure offerings. Last December intu Potteries completed their £19million 6,500 sq-m leisure extension which included 7 restaurants and a 9-screen cinema! Following the success of this expansion, they have planned a further £350million investment at Watford, Broadmarsh and Lakeside with cinema and dining extensions to keep their schemes different and relevant.

Intu aren’t the only ones investing in leisure developments – last month the White Rose Centre in Leeds began their 65,000 sq ft leisure expansion which is due to complete Autumn 2017 and The Royal Victoria Place in Kent has just received the go ahead for their 173,000 sq ft food & beverage and leisure extension!

The leisure trend in Shopping Centres is a worldwide  theme! In Poland, the Galeria Tomaszow scheme currently being constructed is set to open in Autumn this year. The centre is being developed in a city which prior to this had no modern shopping centre, designed to save the local demographic travelling to the next location. A strong focus in this development is on leisure and dining to entice visitors and create a community hub to suit all of their retail and leisure needs.

In Russia, the MegaGrinn centre completed on the 1st March 2016 contains an amusement park, hotel and sport facilities. In the Netherlands the Hoog Catharijine centre is planned to go under development in 2017 to build a cinema, hotel and casino.

There are so many more developments happening in Europe and internationally which represent how the shift in consumer expectations is quickly shaping requirements for shopping centres. Centres are becoming destinations where the public want to spend time and have become part of their lifestyle.

The ECE recently released  a study which found 40% of visitors choose a shopping centre based on the available dining options. Gerard Groener, MD of IKEA Centres,  talked to Across magazine and stated ‘Food and Beverage services will grow to take up 20 or 25% of the total floor area of future centres’, which demonstrates how centres are alive to consumers’ growing expectations and understand centres are no longer merely for shopping.

Developing leisure aspects in schemes will help drive new customers and higher footfall. If the leisure offering is something rare and exciting, people will travel to your scheme rather than visiting their local. A great example of this is Legoland at intu Trafford Centre, Manchester: this extension encourages visitors from all over the country, and most individuals will go into the centre to shop, have dinner or go to the cinema after their trip to Legoland. This shows how the destination has become a venue for a day trip or even a weekend, in comparison to historically being somewhere visited for an hour or two.

The leisure aspect adds value to schemes, it give the public more reason to visit and increases dwell time. With the developments of technology and the ease consumers have to shop from home, shopping centres need to expand their offerings to keep their scheme relevant and appealing to today’s savvy consumer!

Katrina Whitehead, Marketing and Operations, Foundation Recruitment

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