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The business of retail destinations

FEBRUARY 2017 • £8.00

Christmas is coming

It’s not too early to start planning

07 Expansion

Rates put the brake on retail expansion

11 Christmas

What trends will we see next December?

33 Leisure

F&B holds the key to centre extensions


Editor Graham Parker 07956 231078

Editor’s letter

Editorial Assistant Iain Hoey 0141 222 5385 Sales manager Trudy Whiston 01293 416090 Events sales manager Graham Harvey 01474 247032 Senior designer Richard Chaudhry 0141 222 5300 Designer Lisa Deakin 0141 222 5388 Managing director Antony Begley 0141 222 5380 Editorial board Carl Foreman, Moorgarth; Byron Lewis, Mall Solutions Europe; Andrew McCall, The ROI Team; Howard Morgan, RealService; John Prestwich; James Taylor, Workman; David Tudor-Morgan, British Land No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publishers. JLD Media is operated by 55 North Ltd under licence from Stephens & George Magazines Ltd. The Publishers accept no responsibility for any statements made in signed contributions or in those reproduced from other sources, nor for claims made in any advertisements.

New research from Conlumino, commissioned by intu and Revo, shows that global retailers aren’t as keen on entering the UK as we might like to think. A market with 60m relatively

Graham Parker Editor Shopping Centre

NEWS & ANALYSIS 05 06 07

Lucky 13 for Westgate Eastbourne regeneration funded Rates put the brake on retail expansion


Shopping Centre is published monthly. Shopping Centre, 55 North Ltd, 19 Waterloo Street, Glasgow, G2 6AY

was the last home-grown startup to really make an impact on the high street? Superdry? So the industry needs to get behind Revo and intu’s campaign and lobby Government for more support. Brexit’s only going to make it more difficult to attract new entrants, so it’s not unreasonable of the shopping centre industry to ask for some help to mitigate the damage.


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wealthy consumers, a wellestablished distribution system and a business-friendly regulatory climate should be attractive, but brands say they are put off by a range of factors, chiefly high property taxes. This matters because new brands are the lifeblood of shopping centres. Without them formats become stale. The brands that are expanding fastest and creating a point of difference for centres at the moment are all from overseas – Smiggle, Pandora and Flying Tiger to name but three. What

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Christmas – With the festive season finally over, It’s time to start planning for Christmas 2017. What trends will we see next December? Leisure – Entertainment and food & beverage is becoming a crucial part of the shopping centre offer, but operators are becoming more selective.

REGULARS 38 42 43

Data – Retail facts & figures People – The Empty Shop returns to Manchester Moves – All the latest job moves

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Lucky 13 for Westgate With 10 months until opening of the £440m Westgate Oxford, the Westgate Oxford Alliance – a JV between Land Securities and Crown Estate – has unveiled 13 new retail brands, and two new restaurant venues, meaning that the 800,000-sq ft almost 70 per cent pre-let and in solicitors’ hands The latest retail signings include Mint Velvet, Smashbox, Gant, Body Shop, T2, Hotel Chocolat, Guess,

JD Sports, local Oxford retailer Burrows+Hare, Trotters, Accessorize, Lush and Aveda. A 140,000-sq ft John Lewis department store will anchor the new centre, sitting alongside premium fashion brands Michael Kors, Hugo Boss, Ted Baker, Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein and high street favourites Cos, H&M, & Other Stories, Russell & Bromley and Victoria’s Secret Pink.

Milton Keynes refurb plans unveiled Hermes Investment Management and AustralianSuper, co-owners of centre:mk,

have announced plans for a £60m investment in the centre. Over the next three years, the gradetwo listed building will undergo a series of enhancements building on the success of the recently completed £10m Sunset Walk refurbishment. The next phase will see the development of new customer facilities on Deer Walk, including a customer service lounge, family facilities and WCs, and work will begin this spring on a new 1,400-space multi–storey car park adjoining John Lewis.

Centre director Kevin Duffy said: “centre:mk plays a significant role regionally as we provide a critical mass and diversity of offer unavailable elsewhere. The investment in the malls, wayfinding, facilities and customer service will collectively allow us to build upon the place making we have created and further improve the space. These plans ensure centre:mk is always relevant for the consumer and retailers and will create a refreshing, exciting and modern look and feel within the iconic destination.”

Hammerson sells Watermark stake

Barking redevelopment scheme approved

Hammerson has sold 50 per cent of Watermark, the newly opened 180,000-sq ft leisure and dining development adjacent to the Westquay shopping centre in Southampton, to GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund. GIC is already Hammerson’s joint venture partner in the rest of the Westquay complex. The development, which opened in December 2016, brings the total retail and leisure space at Westquay to over 1 million sq ft, reinforcing its role in Southampton as the regional destination for southern England. When fully leased the scheme will provide stabilised annual income of £5.5m pa and is currently 95 per cent let, offering customers a choice of over 20 restaurants including Five Guys, Bills, Cau, Franco Manca, Byron, Nando’s, Casa Brasil, Cosmo and Red Dog Saloon, many of which have taken their first locations outside London.

Hammerson CEO David Atkins said: “The new restaurant and leisure complex at Watermark is the largest development of its kind in the UK, showcasing our skills in creating consumer-led destinations that cater to the family experience, bringing exciting new restaurants, the most technologically advanced cinema in Europe and a stunning new Esplanade alongside the historic city walls.”

Benson Elliot and development managers Londonewcastle have received the green light from the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham for the redevelopment of the Vicarage Field shopping centre site in Barking town centre. The plans comprise a comprehensive redevelopment of the existing shopping centre and adjoining buildings to provide a modern retail, restaurant and leisure offer with more choice and variety; as well as up to 850 high quality homes; a three-form entry primary school; a 6-8 screen cinema and 300-capacity music venue; a 150-room hotel; flexible enterprise space for start-up businesses; healthcare facilities and extensive public realm and green space. The high quality mixed-used development is expected to start on site in 2018. FEBRUARY 2017 SHOPPING CENTRE




Eastbourne regeneration funded Legal & General Investment Management Real Assets has partnered with a major international investor to drive forward its £220m retail and leisure scheme in Eastbourne. The significant injection of capital will enhance the existing Arndale shopping centre as well as kick-start the scheme’s £85m retail and leisure extension. The new investment bolsters plans for the major 175,000-sq ft retail and leisure extension which includes the demolition of buildings to the west of the centre along Terminus Road, bringing an additional 22 new retail units, 300 extra car parking spaces, seven restaurants and a nine-screen cinema to Eastbourne town

centre. New signings for the extension include Cineworld, Next, H&M, Fat Face, New Look, Nando’s, Carluccio’s, Wagamama, Byron,

Chiquito, Frankie & Benny’s and Ask. A building contract is now in place and construction works have begun with completion expected in autumn 2018. James Whitehill, senior fund manager at LGIM Real Assets, said: “This injection of international capital by a key investment partner, alongside Legal & General’s existing ownership and investment, ensures the further strengthening of an already dominant retail destination. We have already secured a host of excellent retailers for the extension to include a major cinema operator as well as many popular restaurants in a boost to both the town’s day time and night time economy.”

Glasgow leisure consent granted Blackstone and Sovereign Centros have been ganted planning consent by Glasgow City Council for a new 90,000-sq ft leisure redevelopment at St Enoch shopping centre in Glasgow city centre. The redevelopment will be located at the east end of St Enoch shopping centre in the former BHS store, which closed earlier this year and will comprise a new 30,000-sq ft, nine-screen cinema, up to nine new restaurants and an additional 35,000 sq ft of new retail and leisure

floorspace. Sovereign Centros director Paul Bailey said: “The provision of a complete leisure destination, all under one roof with adjacent car parking, will be unique for Glasgow city centre and will further boost St Enoch’s rapidly enhancing reputation. We are very well advanced in discussions with an international cinema brand as well as numerous household restaurants.” CBRE advised on planning. Letting agents are Cushman & Wakefield and Eric Young &

JD and Superdry upsize at Second Thurrock Grosvenor's Liverpool One leisure anchor signs JD Sports is to upsize into a new regional flagship of almost 40,000 sq ft on Liverpool One’s Paradise Street. The new JD Sports is twice the size of its existing store and will bring a unique concept to the North West when it opens later this year. To accommodate JD Sports’ increase, Superdry is relocating to Liverpool One’s South John Street, where the fashion brand will open a new 10,000-sq ft store. JD Sports’ decision to upsize follows a highly successful performance at Liverpool One. The new store also reinforces Paradise Street’s position as one of the strongest collections of urban fashion and accessories brands in the UK, with 7Liverpool, Jack Wolfskin and Urban Decay all opening in the last few months. Cushman & Wakefield and Metis Real Estate Advisors acted for Liverpool One. SHOPPING CENTRE FEBRUARY 2017

Hollywood Bowl is to open one of its biggest centres in the 225,000-sq ft extension at intu Lakeside, which will also be anchored by Nickelodeon’s first UK shopping centre attraction when it launches next year. The 34,000-sq ft flagship venue represents Hollywood Bowl’s latest generation of family entertainment centres with 24 fully computerised ten-pin bowling lanes, including a number of exclusive VIP lanes. It will also feature an American diner, a bar, and amusements and pool areas. Two more leisure operators and 10 food and drink outlets will also open in 2018 as part of the 175,000-sq ft first phase of intu Lakeside’s leisure extension.


Don’t take retail for granted Report from intu and Revo demonstrates international retailers find many of the features of the UK retail market attractive, but warns that business rates put off potential new entrants A steady flow of new entrants to the market is essential to keep refreshing the retail offer in the UK’s retail destinations. Global brands like H&M and the Inditex stable have grown to become mainstays of the high street and as a vibrant and innovative sector generating £326bn in sales each year and directly employing around 3 million people, retail is one of the UK’s success stories. But with economic and political uncertainty on the rise, Revo and intu set out to take the temperature of expansionminded international retailers. Researchers at Conlumino interviewed 130 international retailers with a collective turnover of £1.5 trillion, consisting of those already in the UK, those considering the UK for expansion and those where the UK is not on their expansion plans. They were asked about their international expansion plans and to rate the UK on 36 factors, identifying barriers to investing in the UK and ranking the UK against other retail markets. Significantly, three quarters of international retailers who contributed to the survey said that they would expand elsewhere in preference to the UK due to a number of perceived barriers, the most

significant being business rates. The findings are part of a new report by intu, owner of many of the UK's largest and most popular retail destinations, and Revo, the voice of retail property in the UK, which outlines eight recommendations to capitalise on international interest and remove barriers to expansion. David Fischel, intu chief executive, said: “The good news is that overseas retailers are interested in the UK because it is a large market, has sensible employment regulations, low corporation tax and a sound digital infrastructure. “However, almost three quarters of the retailers surveyed said they would consider other countries in preference to the UK for expanding their business; with the standout issue being the high level of UK property taxes, especially business rates. “This research further confirms our long held view that Government needs to review the entire structure of business rates which is currently a disincentive for inward investment and makes the UK uncompetitive.” The research, conducted on behalf of Revo and intu by Conlumino among 130

international retailers, found the UK is seen as attractive across 36 key factors, including solid economic growth rate, a sensible approach to labour relations, low corporate tax rate and sound digital infrastructure. Ed Cooke, Revo chief executive, said: “Retail is a great British success story, admired around the world for its creativity and innovation. The sector is supported by a dynamic and evolving retail property industry, which is adapting in response to retailer needs, shaped by changing consumer shopping habits. “Although successful, our research shows how, at a time of great political and economic uncertainly, we must take things to another level. Specifically, by looking again at property taxation, to create a more internationally competitive tax environment, and also by more actively prompting our market abroad.” Other recommendations within the report include promoting the UK to international retailers, addressing issues relating to planning and providing more help to navigate the complex legislative and wider regulatory landscape.



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With the festive season finally over, It’s time to start planning for Christmas 2017. So what went well, what didn’t, and what should centres should be doing to prepare?


s Christmas 2016 reached its close, centres, shoppers and retailers alike were able to take a breath, relieved that they made it through another year. But in retail ,the quiet period never lasts long, as many are keeping the busy stretch fresh in their minds and planning early for the coming year’s festive period. Shopping centre marketing teams will be analysing return on investment from 2016 Christmas campaigns and

events and learning the lessons, but they could also be doing further research into their customers’ shopping behaviour and needs, according to data marketing company, Coniq. “Although shopping centres are still feeling the effects of Christmas, there is little time for rest,” says Ben Chesser, the company’s CEO. “In order to cash in on the opportunity of this year’s peak trading season, centres and tenants need to commence their marketing planning





stages now. “By analysing the customer insight data from the past few months, shopping centres will be better informed on what proved successful in terms of marketing strategy, and what needs improving for the coming year,” Chesser explains. “By ensuring that they are better informed from the outset, shopping centres can then put in place a plan of action, which will look to appeal to and involve the centre’s existing tenants, and implement a joint effort towards Christmas success which will be mutually beneficial.”

A DESIGNER CHRISTMAS The mounting pressure year on year to create a shopping environment that is more Christmassy than the last is palpable, as there are so many themes, colours, materials, technologies and lighting options to choose from – it’s a question of catering to your demographic. It is easy to get carried away by the complexities, and implementing grand ideas is easier SHOPPING CENTRE FEBRUARY 2017

said than done, but having a specific vision and a thorou gh decoration brief is useful when it comes to carrying out Christmas decoration plans. “We have seen a huge trend in the industry for clients writing far more detailed briefs for Christmas tenders,” says Michelle Moffitt, managing director at MK Illumination UK. “This helps companies like ours immensely as we can really get under the skin of the centre, the customer base, the marketing vision and deliver schemes that exceed expectations. The result in 2016 was an array of decorative schemes that really surpassed previous years, which was great to see as the industry continues to evolve. “The entire purpose of decorations is to assist shopping centres,” continues Moffitt, whose company portfolio includes Bluewater and intu Metrocentre, “creating an atmosphere and a reason for customers to visit the centre during peak trading periods. The secondary objective is to increase dwell time and engage with them. It is the end consumer that decides if the decorations are a hit. Social media becomes the talking point if a scheme is loved or not and as a business our team are always thrilled with the feedback our schemes receive from customers – having people share photos of your decorations to thousands of followers saying they are the ‘best ever’, or ‘stunning’ or a ‘must see’ is exactly what we live for in the festive arena.” It is important, say Moffitt, to choose some decorations that are versatile enough to be reused year on year even with the changing of theme or overall design. “These days,” she tells us, “shopping centres are really after value for money so we are seeing many of them rolling over their schemes into a fourth or fifth year. So it’s important for the centre management team to consider this when purchasing a lighting and decoration solution. Will it last the test of time? Does it have a style that could be rolled over? Will the product last beyond three



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years? Do the lights have a warranty beyond five years? Is my supplier certified for all the production? “Asking questions up front during the tender is essential for success. So many centres are having challenges when they hire new suppliers for a scheme as the lack of knowledge creates such a steep learning curve that we are finding more customers stay with us year-on-year to ensure the process runs smoothly.” MK Illumination is one of the only suppliers to manufacturer all its own LED lights, which allows the company to cater and easily adapt to its clients’ specifications. Managing director at MK Illumination Ireland, John Riordan, says that it is important for a centre’s design to connect with shoppers. “We will need to make our customers experience the feelings of joy and happiness that the festive season brings,” says Riordan. “A sense of tradition and warmth will be essential to the shopping and gifting experience as will nature and sustainability. MK Ireland see a move towards warmer colours, and a return to fun and interactivity for families when visiting centres. The trends and styles chosen by our creative design team for Christmas will include palettes that represent the moods of joy, tradition, nature and modernity.” SHOPPING CENTRE FEBRUARY 2017

A TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS Tradition is a prevalent subject at Christmas time, and it falls at the very heart of experiential offering over the Christmas period. From seasonal staples such as Christmas trees and elaborate lighting, to having a Santa’s Grotto and festive displays, Helen Maguire, international strategist at Toolbox Group, says that creating the familiar sense of Christmas is key. “You can't experience traditional Christmas when you do your Christmas shopping online,” says Maguire. “British shoppers like nostalgia and they want to feel Christmassy, see a Christmas tree, take a selfie and share it, find a bargain or the perfect present. So tradition it is still important.”


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Shopping centres are increasingly including interactive features in their decorations such as music, animation and digital elements. The most successful are those campaigns or attractions with features that keep parents and children there for longer or give a reason to come back and tell people about. “Standard decorations look pretty and create atmosphere but they’re not a reason to visit on their own,” says Maguire, “but if you’re developing a digital spin on your Christmas decoration it has to have the wow-factor.” For creative events company, Maynineteen, which has worked with big names including intu, Hammerson, Savills and Land Securities, it’s a question of knowing a centre and its demographic. “For most retail centres, recognisable elements of the traditional Christmas remain important, particularly for families with children,” says Maynineteen marketing manager, Jo Prosser. “The iconic tree, winter snow, Santa in his grotto, toys and presents are all strongly associated with the season. Most of our clients will request variations on these traditional themes when it comes to events and experiential activations. “Our giant inflatable Christmas Pudding experience and Elf Yourself workshops are always popular, along with Christmas

characters like; elves, toy soldiers, fairies, etc. There are exceptions however, central city locations will be more adventurous in their outlook, opting for contemporary themes and spectacular shows.” Looking ahead to Christmas 2017, Adrian Ford, managing director at Springfield Decorations and Display, advises on the aesthetic he expects to see in the next festive period. “2016 brought a wide selection of different display styles with it. From new modem fiberglass and aluminium displays, DMX lighting effects to ultra-realistic traditional Spruce effects. Although white LED lighting still proved to be the most popular choice colour in 2015, Springfield found the mixing of ice white and warm or gold lighting was much in demand producing a more 3D effect to displays. This theme looks like it will be expanding in 2017.” For its fourth Christmas since opening, London Designer Outlet opted for traditional with a twist in terms of design, with its biggest attraction coming in the form of Norman the polar bear. “The interest in him was huge, much bigger than expected. We had children and adults queued up to sit on Norman and take a selfie,” outlet manager Sue Shepherd enthused.

AN EXPERIENTIAL CHRISTMAS In a recent review of the Christmas period by the Ashton Centre of Retail Insights, Heiner Evanschitzky outlined the two key underlying trends in consumer purchase behaviour: the use of online to make purchases and the pursuit of inspirational shopping experiences. Credit card transaction data indicates that consumers have almost reached ‘peak stuff ’, meaning SHOPPING CENTRE FEBRUARY 2017

We chose to work with Fizzco for our 2016 decorations due to their original designs that worked well with our scheme. We were not disappointed, the decorations were stunning and were very pleased with how Fizzco organised everything. We had so many lovely comments from our retailers and customers about how impressive our decorations looked. Steph Higham, Marketing Manager, Alhambra Shopping Centre.


We were extremely happy with our very first Christmas scheme. Fizzco understood that we wanted a traditional theme across the site, but with the real WOW factor. We had great feedback from our shoppers

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CHRISTMASWORLD PREDICTIONS 2017 The Trend Show at the annual Christmasworld exhibition in Frankfurt showcases its selections and suggestions of Christmas decorations for retail and retail property. The accompanying trend book aims to answer two questions: Which colours, materials, designs and forms will be prominent in the coming season? And how will festive displays shape up in the future? The trend bureau bora.herke.palmisano has determined what it thinks Christmas will look like come December this year, which it breaks down to four top trends.

1) Delicate Structure Filigree structures and textures are inspired by nature. With the help of innovative manufacturing and finishing processes, they create refined, approachable surfaces. They invite the observer to touch them and provide distinctly sensual pleasure. Ice crystals, the surface effects of water, leaf structures, sand shaped by the wind – elaborately worked surfaces, 3D printing and laser sintering replicate natural phenomena, producing breathtakingly artistic designs.

2) Honest Materials High-quality craftsmanship with a commitment to design keeps traditions alive. A meticulous approach to the original materials creates products that are grounded in the earth, that are as unostentatious as they are durable. Simple looks with the charm of the irregular – earthenware, enamel, cast iron, linen and a colour palette ranging from wood to berries are the things that characterise this new trend that is set to sweep through Christmas 2017.

3) Jumbled Pattern A homage to carefree youth, an invitation to let the imagination roam free: in the untamed chaos of patterns and motifs, the frankly fanciful plays an equal role alongside the nostalgic and the ingenious. In this creative smorgasbord of style, the geometrical meets the representational, the bizarre meets the naive, vintage meets a home-made look. Bright colours set the tone here – and toys, buttons and emblems create cheerful accents.

4) Notable Shapes A clean-lined and characterful interior design with strong silhouettes defines

customers realise they have got everything they need and can use their extra cash on experiences, rather than simply buying more ‘stuff ’. “We are evolving into an experience economy,” Evanschitzky claims. “Experience, entertainment and engagement is key for bricks and mortar as online shopping can’t deliver. That should now be the mantra for shopping centre strategies no matter the season,” says Toolbox’s Helen Maguire. She puts forward that consumers are treating their Christmas shopping trip as a leisure activity. “We find that the more simple campaigns work better for Christmas. Shoppers want a level of experience, but nothing that involves a lot of time and interferes with the Christmas shopping mission. You might see more pop-up retail or Christmas markets in shopping centres to give an added reason to visit. Interactivity and technology will also be a major focus, but it needs to be clever and balance with tradition.” Christmas is notoriously the season of giving and charity regularly takes centre stage, and it’s the footfall and local impact a charity-centric event can generate. “Our focus was to give back to the community, with charity standing at the forefront of our Christmas appeal,” says David McNee, centre manager of the Galleries shopping centre in Washington. “We’ve been working with Wearside Women in Need for the past 18 years, who may not be the biggest charity, but they are a key fixture in the local community.” The centre worked with the charity in its annual ‘giving tree’ promotion, but with a slight twist. “We had women and children write their own messages which our customers could then read,” McNee explains. “It allowed people to give gifts to the recipients of their choice, which created a much more emotional impact. The response was incredible and we had over 950 gifts donated.”

traditional modern elegance anew. The epicentre is sculptural form, self-confident, monolithic and heavily charged. Dense materials, dark hardwoods,


leather, velvet, marble and metal produce contrasting surfaces – and in

Amid the festive décor, Christmas is the busiest retail period of the year, and interrupting the magical shopping experience with excessive queueing and struggling to

striking combinations, too, with some unforgettable inlay-effects, diamond motifs and geometric patterns.




make it around every store before closing time can be a challenge. More services to make the shopping experience better and more efficient will be most effective. There’s no doubt that retailers’ online focus will continue to grow. However, brands are using online to stimulate in-store visits through click and collect and returns services, so there is likely to be some interesting online versus in store product strategies. “Time-pressed shoppers, such as working parents and professionals, need both convenience and inspiration as part of experience,” Maguire explains.“Their shopping trips have to be efficient and successful, so shopping centres should be thinking about services to make the shopping trip easier and add value such as bag drop, parking attendants, click and collect, wrapping, and helping shoppers with their purchasing. Late night shopping is nothing new for the bigger centres but more centres are offering it and hours are extending.” It’s never too early to be start planning next Christmas, and at London Designer Outlet they have already started the ball rolling. “Every January we have our ‘Christmas lessons learned’ meeting, where we sit down for half a day and discuss what went well, what we were SHOPPING CENTRE FEBRUARY 2017

pleased with, and things that we feel could have huge potential for the following year,” says Sue Shepherd. “The day-long session covers everything from marketing to service offering to how well we worked with retailers to ensure they gave the best offerings they could. We’ve already scheduled our first Christmas 2017 planning meeting to take what we did well and see how to make them bigger and better, and make sure they remain fresh and keep shoppers coming.” When you listen to how any centre plans to keep customers coming in and build on their successes this year, the fundamental mantra is the same – knowing what people want, and giving it to them in a way that’s just a little bit extra special. “For next year we really want to build on what we learned,” says David McNee. “Our customers responded well to face-to-face interaction, local advertising. We want to build on it without simply replicating it. We want to give them something unusual that they won’t find. We want to keep it very much rooted in the community and working with local charities which might otherwise see a lack of valuable recognition. Overall, we want to work hard at making a meaningful contribution to our local clientele over the Christmas period and give back to the community.”




With augmented and virtual reality tipped to be the hottest trend in retail for 2017, how did new technology perform over the latest Christmas period?

We are constantly looking for new innovations and developing interactive solutions for our clients,” says Michelle Moffitt, managing director of MK Illumination UK. “Customers love engaging with decorations from touch pads, to controlling colours from phones or sensors through to music infused decorations. Our biggest installation for 2016 was the Trinity Leeds kissing tree. Technology at its best where the tree changed colour and lit the entire ceiling of the centre based on customer engagement through ‘kissing’. It was one of the most talked about installations of the year on social media and in the press which made for great results for the centre team. We were thrilled to present them an idea that sat so well with their brand values and ethos during Christmas.” In this day and age, it’s practically inconceivable that anyone might go shopping without their mobile smartphone. The average person checks theirs 100 times a day. And so connecting with and utilising the many thousands of devices that pass through a shopping centre on any given day is a no brainer from a marketing point of view. Apps, however, are becoming a saturated market. Smart phones are becoming increasingly congested with the growing number of companies fighting for the precious space on a consumer’s handheld device. Following a recent financial forecast from Digi-Capital predicting that virtual reality (VR) will become a multi-billion pound industry by 2020, it’s no surprise, given the huge commercial potential, that retailers are looking in earnest at the opportunities VR has for delivering a truly immersive shopping





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experience for their customers. Consequently, a number of shopping centres have been adopting Christmas-based virtual and augmented reality apps to win over consumers with that extra special in-your-pocket touch to their festive marketing push. Smart phone VR technology is still very much in development in terms of implementing it in a commercial environment, but many centres have dipped their toes in the water in the hope that it might start heating up. The question is whether it’s a worthwhile investment at this point in time, or if it those thinking about adding it to their marketing drive should hold off until the technology is a little more mature. So what was the experience of those who have been trialling the technology over the Christmas period?

VIRTUAL WONDERLAND First up, hopping on the VR bandwagon for Christmas 2016, is intu, a prime example of brand power using its weight to trial the incoming trend. Christmas shoppers at the intu Victoria centre in Nottingham were treated to stepping from a winter log cabin in the shopping centre to a virtual reality winter wonderland where they could decorate a Christmas tree and share their creations with friends and family online. intu piloted the experience until 21st December. It now looks to roll-out virtual reality experiences across its 15 centres nationwide this year. The trial examined the impact of VR leisure experiences on dwell time, customer loyalty and the shopping experience, alongside other leisure activities in shopping centres such as a trip to the cinema or meals out. intu is hoping that this kind of social and interactive experience could become as commonplace for shoppers as stopping for a coffee with friends. SHOPPING CENTRE FEBRUARY 2017

Karen Harris, managing director of intu’s digital innovation team, says: “It [provided] a real moment of surprise and delight for customers in Nottingham, [increasing] dwell time in the centre over Christmas and propensity to revisit to the benefit of our retailers. “Virtual reality and its uses within the modern world has attracted a huge amount of public interest, so as part of intu’s digital strategy we wanted to test its benefits within a real shopping environment and earn from our findings.” The Christmas VR experience at intu’s Victoria Centre used HTC Vive, a first-of-its-kind virtual reality system, featuring 360-degree motion tracking and two wireless controllers. Jon Goddard, European marketing director, VR at HTC claims that: “Providing the opportunity for the public to try quality VR as part of a shopping experience is key to drive awareness and buy- in, and the creation of custom made 360-degre roomscale content is a real first for HTC within a retail environment. We believe this is a great introduction to HTC Vive for all the family.” The Christmas VR experience is just one in a series of programmes and trials intu ran last year as part of its digital strategy. The shopping centre owner worked with the National Autistic Society in the summer to host a virtual reality experience that gave shoppers the perspective of an autistic child and piloted an augmented reality experience for families at its Santa’s grotto in intu Trafford Centre.

TOP OF THE TREE Grosvenor Europe also took the virtual plunge with the launch of an augmented reality app at flagship shopping and leisure destination, Liverpool One. The free Liverpool One Tree Fairies AR app encouraged visitors to ‘capture their own tree fairy’ on

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Liverpool One's 30-metre illuminated Christmas tree in Paradise Place. Visitors could name and share their fairy on social media for a chance to win a Liverpool One gift card. Launched to coincide with the switching on of Liverpool's city-wide Christmas lights, the app generated positive interaction on Twitter, with the creators claiming many visitors made a special trip to find and share their own tree fairy. "Ensuring visitors have a great experience when they visit Liverpool One is vital to its ongoing success,” says Miles Dunnett, director at Grosvenor Europe. “Innovation is key to this, so Grosvenor Europe works continuously with our retailers and other occupiers to find new and exciting ways to interact with, and attract more, visitors. “Our Tree Fairies app engaged visitors with Liverpool One and encouraged them to share their experiences with others, generating conversations on social media that will lead to increased footfall. The approach is working too, with Liverpool One set to experience another year of footfall and sales growth." The launch of the app also coincided with the introduction of a new consumer marketing campaign for Liverpool One which ran regionally throughout the Christmas period.

PLAYING FOR PRIZES Finally comes Freezy’s Christmas Adventure. The augmented reality game, developed by British Land, was rolled out at 21 local and regional centres across the company’s multi-let portfolio. The app-based game was geared for children and could be downloaded onto compatible mobile and tablet devices. For a children’s game, it is impressive in terms of mobile tech and exciting visuals, if fundamentally basic in its principles. It sees players follow a five-step virtual present hunt around the centre, overcoming various obstacles and gathering SHOPPING CENTRE FEBRUARY 2017

gifts for Santa. On completion, players are automatically entered into a weekly prize draw with iPad Minis and the latest Christmas toys up for grabs. Its overall purpose was to help drive footfall, dwell time and brand loyalty, as well as create an uplift in sales for retailers. “Consumers want a place where they can shop, eat and be entertained,” says Ben Dimson, head of business development at British Land. “We put our customers at the heart of our offer, and Freezy’s Christmas Adventure [gave] families visiting our centres a fun and memorable experience. Our scale enables us to invest in innovation and industrialise successful technologies across the business.” Brand power is certainly a factor when it comes to creating a virtual reality offer so early in the commercial game, so it’s no surprise that with the tools to do so, British Land has taken the leap. The game is a one of four-part campaign partnership with augmented virtual reality specialist, Harmony Studios. “We have loyal customer bases who often shop with their children [18.3 per cent], so we think a family game that can be played again and again is perfect for our customers and their children,” Dimson adds. The app for Freezy’s Christmas Adventure was downloaded to Android devices over a thousand times, with that figure presumably at least doubling when accumulated with Apple Store downloads. Considering this is portfolio-wide, it would be generous to say that this amounts to around 100 downloads per participating centre. When the power is there, it might seem sensible to get ahead of the game, but at this point uptake is, apparently, not guaranteed. It possibly isn’t the right move for independent centres just yet – but it’s definitely coming, and maybe by Christmas 2017 it will be ready to fulfil its experiential potential.

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As consumers increasingly value experiences over acquiring more possessions, shopping centres are giving more space over to food & beverage and leisure attractions.


ark Simms, head of shopping centre agency at Savills, says: “Shopping has evolved from being considered an activity in its own right to part of a wider leisure experience. Consumers want to access everything from shops and restaurants to cinemas, bowling and other leisure activities in one place, and expect their shopping centre of choice to deliver this. They are attracted by experience and convenience.” So what does this mean for shopping centres? “Providing a strong leisure component to the retail experience pulls shoppers in from further afield who in turn will choose to stay longer, spend more money and importantly come back again, Simms says. “Shopping centre owners and developers have recognised the benefits of putting leisure at the forefront of their offer and are investing heavily in this.” For example in Southampton, Hammerson has recognised the need for additional F&B and leisure at WestQuay shopping centre and invested £85m to creat Watermark, an adjoining 180,000 sq ft leisure focussed extension with cinema, bowling and numerous restaurants. The development, which opened in December 2016, is currently 95 per cent let. Hammerson CEO David Atkins says: “The new restaurant and leisure complex at Watermark is the largest development of its kind in the UK, showcasing our skills in creating consumerled destinations that cater to the family experience, bringing exciting new restaurants, the most technologically-advanced cinema in Europe and a stunning new Esplanade alongside the historic city walls.” WestQuay is the first centre to see a leisure-led extension on

this scale, but there is barely a major mall in the country that is not looking to create more space for F&B and entertainment. In Leeds, Land Securities is applying the lessons it learned in the Trinity Leeds scheme, where a quarter of the new space was given over to leisure, to the White Rose centre as the mall approaches its 20th birthday. On completion in Summer 2017 the new leisure extension will add an 11-screen IMAX-anchored cinema and six new restaurants as well as improved public realm. “We look at properties on a case-by-case basis, and at White Rose we saw a gap in the market to add a world-class cinema,” says Land Securities’ portfolio director Rob Jewell. “The 25 per cent F&B ratio of Trinity Leeds is never going to be appropriate everywhere, but I believe the experiential element and the events-driven strategy is.” For that reason Jewell feels the public realm – purposedesigned to host events like ice rinks and farmers’ markets – will have a big impact on White Rose as will the new playground. “It’s a small part of an 800,000-sq ft centre but it’s potentially powerful,” he says. In Sheffield, British Land is using the growing appetite for leisure and F&B as a catalyst to refresh the 25-year-old Meadowhall. Richard Crowther, asset manager for Meadowhall, says: “In 2016, we secured a raft of new lettings in Meadowhall's Oasis dining quarter, with Tapas Revolution, Barburrito, Wrapchic and Subway all making their debuts. In addition, Coffika, a new coffee concept opened, and Pret A Manger opened its first cafe at the centre on The Arcade. FEBRUARY 2017 SHOPPING CENTRE



FOOD & BEVERAGE "The new additions increase the variety and choice of catering brands at Meadowhall, ensuring it continues to appeal to visitors from across the region. The mass of new signings in conjunction with Meadowhall’s £60m refurbishment investment, which completes at the end of the year, reinforcing our status as the number one retail and leisure destination in the region. "The next phase in Meadowhall’s evolution is the proposed Leisure Hall extension. A detailed planning application has been submitted to Sheffield City Council for a 330,000-sq ft multi-level extension, which will add dining and entertainment options not currently available at the centre. This will create a bolder, broader and deeper leisure mix and ensure Meadowhall responds to the changing way customers live their lives.” Significantly, as shopping centres move into the leisure arena, some of the older purpose-build leisure parks are in having to up their game, especially as customer expectations have moved on in terms of environment and tenant mix. In Cheltenham, the Brewery is now 10 years old and it has just opened a second phase providing 110,000 sq ft of new retail space, a 104-bed Premier Inn hotel, 34 two-bedroom apartments and a pedestrian mall linking the development to the high street. Cineworld has taken the cinema and added an IMAX screen, while family dining brands Nandos and Franky & Benny’s and a DW gym have also taken space. Philip Martin of Martin Commercial Properties manages the scheme on behalf of NFU Mutual. “We’re refreshing the existing F&B at the same time as we’ve added the new retail,” he says. “And we’re making it more accessible to Cheltenham town centre so it will no longer be the evening economy – it’ll be an all-day thing.” This meant refreshing the line-up with operators like Brewhouse & Kitchen and Cosy Club who Martin says are “more aspirational and appeal to a more affluent demographic.” Martin says the introduction of SHOPPING CENTRE FEBRUARY 2017

residential, hotel and retail uses mean the Brewery is now a true mixed-use scheme, even if this does raise some management issues. “You have to be sensitive if you’re building resi alongside leisure – you have to get the right acoustic measures in place,” he says. “But we’ve found the gym is a big selling point for the resi.” Ashley Blake, formerly head of Land Securities’ retail portfolio, spotted the demand for this type of repositioning two years ago, when he founded Otium Real Estate. He noted that the early 1990s leisure schemes –those with crinkly tin cinemas – are showing their age. But some relatively simple interventions can give them a new lease of life. “Physically they’re getting tired but we specialise in turning those schemes round,” Blake says. “Lighting is critical because they are used mainly at night and they need to feel safe and welcoming. And links to car parking are crucial – people prefer to drive when they go out at night.” In South Wales, Otium took on the 139,000-sq ft Newport leisure park and in 12 months returned it to full occupancy. It brought in gym operator xercise4less, national retailer Home Bargains and local restaurant operator Tiffins before Energi took a new 20,000-sq ft trampoline park in the former Megabowl unit unit next to

the 13-screen Cineworld. Now Blake is turning his attention to the Theatre District in Milton Keynes, which dates from the late 1990s and has TGI Fridays, Zizzis, Bella Italia, Revolution de Cuba and the Slug and Lettuce among its tenants. The site will be rebranded – with 16 units it’s big enough to be a brand in its own right, Blake believes, and existing operators will be encouraged to refurbish. Blake believes refurbishment is the way to go with purpose-built leisure because simple economics mean there’s very little new build. “Developing new leisure is hard because rents are only a third of retail – some operators can only pay £8 per sq ft against £25 for retail,” he says. This is also a challenge for shopping centre landlords looking to fill retail voids with leisure, according to Blake. “Restaurant operators are getting more canny. They won’t take anything that’s built now,” he says. “Landlords are finding it expensive – a cinema will want a £1 m contribution and a bowling alley £500,000.” Against this backdrop it’s the big landlords and the big malls that can make this sort of investment stack up financially, and Blake believes that going forward, this is only going to widen the differentiation between the big, prime shopping centres and the rest.

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THE HEART OF A SHOPPING CENTRE Food and drink are the cornerstone to a successful shopping centre, but what do centre managers need to keep in mind? Karen Mason and David Rawlence highlight the key issues.


ood and drink are very much part of a landlord's placemaking opportunity within a centre, as it is very often a way of extending a shopper's stay and spending within the centre. Good estate management demands that landlords have a good food and drink strategy to ensure that all needs of shoppers are catered for whether this is a quick coffee, or a longer lunch to recharge the batteries. However, food and drink outlets often produce more noise, litter and waste than standard A1 retail units. A manager will need to keep this in mind when designing the unit and approving tenant's works to units, particularly ensuring that all litter and waste can be contained within the unit and easily removed. It will also be prudent to include tenant's obligations in the lease to dispose of waste promptly and in compliance with the requirements of the local authority. Centre managers and landlords must also consider the location and design of outlets in order to minimise and manage the nuisance to other retailers whilst balancing accessibility and convenience. 'Nuisance' covers a range of matters, including noise, smells and leaks, which interfere with a property owner’s use and enjoyment without necessarily involving physical damage or encroachment. A neighbouring retailer, who suffers nuisance, may have a right of action to either damages or an injunction to prevent the continuation of the nuisance.

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sensible to ensure that utilities, where possible, are metered and that there is a corresponding covenant for the tenant to pay all outgoings attributable to their unit. This ensures that directly consumed outgoings are not only paid directly by the tenant but do not form part of the service charge. The installation of meters ensures fairness between the tenants and reduces the possibility of disputes with other tenants or with the landlord. This issue of services provided to retail tenants can become contentious where the opening hours of the units or outlets are different. To avoid service charge disputes, it is important to have comprehensive and consistent service charge provisions for all the units in the shopping centre and to ensure that the service charge costs are apportioned in a fair and reasonable manner, taking into account factors such as extended trading

hours and whether certain services exclusively or disproportionately benefit certain occupiers or occupier types. As restaurants and bars complement a critical mix of any shopping centre and often constitute an ancillary service for customers shopping in the centre, it is important that they are open at profitable times (i.e. mealtimes and evenings) but also for the convenience of all-day shoppers. However, where this is expressed as a tenant obligation to open for certain periods, a landlord should be aware that if a tenant fails to open, in accordance with the terms of their lease, the landlord will only be entitled to damages as a court will never force a tenant to remain open for specified periods. • Karen Mason is a partner and David Rawlence is a solicitor in the property team at law firm Boodle Hatfield.



Outlets outperform

The Realm portfolio of outlet centres produced a stellar set of results in 2016 with total sales increasing by 16 per cent, and like-for-like growth of 7 per cent. Footfall for the year was up 5 per cent on 2015.

December’s results were also extremely healthy with increases in total sales of 13 per cent on the previous year and footfall also climbing by 8 per cent. It was also a record year for leasing transactions across the portfolio with the leasing team delivering 75 new deals across its estate of ten outlet centres, accounting for a total of 150,000 sq ft. This buoyant mood is reflected across Europe according Cushman & Wakefield research. Average European

outlet rents have increased by more than 10 per cent over the past year and rapidly rising rents in popular locations has incentivised developers to consider outlets as new retail channels. For the first time ever, the largest European retail transaction of the year was an outlet deal featuring two concurrent pan-European sales by the IRUS European Retail Property Fund which saw ten centres change hands for a reported €1.28bn.

Independent trader profile – Solent Coffee The germ of an idea that resulted in Solent Coffee at Fareham shopping centre was for an online hobbies and models shop. Back in 2014 Lee Wilcox decided that he wanted to launch an online models and hobbies store. However, he found that many suppliers would only sell their stock to physical shops, and decided to go ahead with a shop. He wanted to make his shop unique and had the idea to make his shop a cafe too. He explains: “We could have purchased the coffee from the cash & carry, but felt that the quality just wasn’t there. We found a coffee roaster in the North of Hampshire and decided that he would use them. However, while having a coffee at the suppliers one morning, Lee decided that he would try his hand at coffee roasting. Hooked on the idea, he then spent the next 12 months spending two to three days a week roasting, gaining the knowledge and experience he needed to be in a position to purchase his own coffee roaster. And on September 1 2015, Hobbies and Coffees opened in Gosport, selling their own roasted SHOPPING CENTRE FEBRUARY 2017

coffee and models. The coffee was a success and in April 2016, the café stopped selling the models and rebranded as Solent Coffees. As part of his planned ongoing expansion, Lee contacted Space to trade, with a view to taking an RMU at Fareham shopping centre. He explains: “We decided that we had to get our name out to a wider audience. We also had confidence in our product and branding, but didn’t want the expense and overheads of opening another café. Opening in the shopping centre meant that we were able to achieve our goal.” Solent Coffee would recommend an RMU to other small businesses that don’t have a large budget and are looking to expand and keep costs down. “At the shopping centre we only do takeaway drinks and we have found that with the growth of the coffee culture within the UK more and more people are appreciating quality coffee and want to try something different to the normal high street brands,” he explains. “We have also found that off of the back of people trying our coffee a high proportion of those then buy our coffee beans to brew at home.”

Investment volumes collapse In what Stephen Springham, partner and head of retail research at Knight Frank, describes as an “annus horribilis for the shopping centre investment market” sales volumes in 2016 fell by 28 per cent year-on-year, to their lowest level since 2009. He pointed out: “These bare stats become worse when one considers that of the £3.05bn transacted, just four deals comprised over half of the total” The final quarter of 2016 saw four notable deals with Intu Bromley fetching £236m reflecting a 6.00 per cent yield; The Mall, Camberley selling for £86m off 5.90 per cent and Observatory and Queensmere, Slough, achieving £130m reflecting 5.00 per cent. At the year-end Delancey’s 50 per cent stake in Southside, Wandsworth was under offer to Invesco for £147.5m showing a 4.50 per cent initial yield. Springham said a major factor in the low transactional volumes has been the Brexit vote, with concerns over the outcome contributing to low volumes during the first half of the year and most investors taking a cautious ‘wait and see’ approach in the second half of the year. Knight Frank says prospects are little better for 2017 with an uncertain political backdrop likely to continue economic uncertainty suffocating investment volumes.

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Lakeside The Empty Shop returns to Manchester lifesaver

Internationally acclaimed charity fashion initiative ‘The Empty Shop’ returned to Manchester Arndale for the fourth consecutive year, looking to exceed last year’s total when nearly two tons of secondhand clothing was collected. This year’s proceeds will go towards helping two Manchester-based charities: Mustard Tree, which works to help the city’s homeless and deprived, and a new charity partner for 2017, Goodstock by vInspired, which aims to encourage young people to volunteer their time to those less fortunate. This year, the Empty Shop also teamed up with ‘Musicians Against Homelessness’ to help spread the word about the concept and the official celebrity ambassador for the project in 2017 is Manchester-born Rowetta, The campaign ran in the centre’s Exchange Court in mid-January and members of the public, local businesses and retailers were also able to drop off garments at specially designed ‘empty wardrobes’ in 12 retailers including Next, Luke, Simply Be, Dorothy Perkins and Burton. Centre director David Allinson said: “The international recognition the Empty Shop has received in previous years is a testament to the people of Manchester."

Care Facility Management’s site supervisor at Doncaster’s Lakeside Village outlet mall has been awarded employee of the month for the second time after helping to save a customer’s life. Paul Isherwood was called to the Thornton’s store a few weeks ago to help a customer who fell ill. Paul, a nurse for ten years who now teaches first aid for Care across all of Realm’s outlet centres, said: “I went straight to the store and the lady was slumped across the chair unconscious but breathing. I put her in the recovery position and tried to get her to regain consciousness. I was just turning her onto her back to begin CPR and miraculously she opened her eyes. It all seemed to happen in a minute and then she was whisked off to hospital."




This month’s moves . . . M J MAPP opened a new office in Birmingham in January 2017. KAL AZIZ will head up the new office, with TOM BATES who is joining from Cushman & Wakefield. At the same time ROB STARK is joining MJ Mapp from Capita as executive director, head of property management operations and strategy. MARY-ANN DUNN is joining from JLL as executive director, head of accounting and IAN BOWLES is joining as director, head of client accounting.

LUNSON MITCHENALL celebrated the end of 2016 with six promotions and a new hire. CHERELYN ELBOURNE will be joining the lease advisory team from Wilmots. At the same time JAMES COGAVIN and RICHARD HARWOOD in the investment team have been promoted to director and associate director, while RUVAN SANGRA and GEORGE OPPENHEIM in the catering and leisure team have both moved up to associate director. In the shopping centre leasing team, WILL HOOPER has been promoted to Associate Director. ORLA COTTELL has taken on the role of marketing coordinator.

WORKMAN has appointed CHARLES BARRATT as manager of NewRiver’s Capitol shopping centre in Cardiff. Barratt will continue to take responsibility for two other NewRiver-owned centres, Merlin’s Walk in Carmarthen’s and St Elli in Llanelli. Experienced London retail agents MARTIN THOMAS and LUKE HARGREAVES have left JLL to form a new retail arm for HANOVER GREEN. Thomas previously worked for Churston Heard, CWM and Hillier Parker. Hargreaves previously worked at Cushman & Wakefield, GVA Grimley and HNG.

BLUE TIGER MARKETING has recruited TK Maxx’s head of marketing GEMMA HOLMES as its new business development manager. Clients include British Land and The Restaurant Group. Ellandi has appointed RUTH DUFFIELD as asset manager. She joins from Sovereign Centros and she previously worked at LaSalle Investment Management. Additionally, ALEX BROOKER has been promoted to head of asset management while RICHARD HUTCHINSON has been promoted to associate director.

Sales & Project Manager MK Illumination is a premium creator and supplier of conceptual festive lighting focusing on solutions for retail real estate, public spaces and leisure locations working with a range of high profile clients. Due to business growth and client service level expectations an exciting opportunity has arisen for a driven, passionate and positive individual to join our team as a Sales & Project Manager for the South region. You will manage existing accounts and be responsible for building new relationships throughout the South & South West. You will manage proposals, interpret briefs, and deliver presentations, to both internal & external stakeholders, managing each project through from conceptual ideas to realisation, acting as primary point of contact for each account you manage. The ideal candidate will be detail-oriented, commercially-minded, able to identify and manage key milestones in the delivery of a project, possess excellent communication & presentation skills, and have a demonstrable creative edge. A full-time position, typically the role will involve 2 days each week either in our Blackburn premises, or from our central London premises. Note shopping centre knowledge is preferred. • Salary: Competitive - plus company car & benefits • For further details, please email:


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Profile for 55 North

Shopping Centre Magazine February 2017  

Shopping Centre Magazine February 2017  

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