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SHOPPINGCENTRE The business of retail destinations

September 2017 • £8.00

Fresh face for Cambridge Grafton centre refurb reaches key landmark

15 Parking Parking operators attract investment

24 Ireland Retailers chase growth markets

26 Customer analysis Data protection challenge ahead


Editor Graham Parker 07956 231 078

Editor’s letter

Editorial Assistant Iain Hoey 07757 946 414 Sales Manager Trudy Whiston 01293 416 090 Events Sales Manager Graham Harvey 01474 247 032 Database Manager Dywayne Ramsundar 01737 852 342 Design & Production Stuart West 01737 852 343 Managing Director Helen Richmond 01737 852 344

The 2017 Revo conference in Liverpool is only days away now and it will be the perfect opportunity to take stock of the progress the shopping centre industry’s trade body has made since it was relaunched at last

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Graham Parker Editor Shopping Centre

NEWS & ANALYSIS 04 05 06 08 10 13

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The market now is all about enhancing existing assets so expect a less flashy, more workmanlike show in Liverpool. And it’s in times like this that the disciplines of shopping centre management can make or break the financial performance of a scheme. It would be good to see that recognised in Liverpool.


Editorial Board Carl Foreman, Moorgarth; Byron Lewis, Mall Solutions Europe; Andrew McCall, The ROI Team; Howard Morgan, RealService; John Prestwich, Montagu Evans; James Taylor, Workman; David Tudor-Morgan, British Land

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year’s show in Manchester. Anecdotally we hear delegate and exhibition stand sales have gone well, vindicating Revo’s decision to cut prices to make its flagship event more accessible. But what kind of industry does Revo now represent? Shopping centre development activity is nearing an all-time low, and the investment market has ground to a halt so don’t expect many champagne-fuelled parties celebrating huge deals or lavish stands promoting new schemes to potential occupiers.

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Thurrock extension under way Most BHS stores lie empty Vancouver revamp begins Bright future for solar Fresh look for the Grafton Riverwalk reaches half way point

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Parking – Takeovers of NCP and Q Park underline investor confidence in the parking sector Ireland – Economic recovery drives growth in retail sector Customer Analysis – New privacy regulations give consumers increased powers over their data

REGULARS 30 34 35 35

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Data – Retail facts & figures Soapbox – Experience at the heart of retail management People – NewRiver introduces tantrum training Moves – All the latest job moves

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Thurrock extension under way intu has appointed McLaren Construction to build the 175,000-sq ft leisure extension to intu Lakeside that will host Nickelodeon’s first UK shopping centre attraction. The £73m scheme will open in 2018, anchored by a Nickelodeon-themed family entertainment centre and one of Hollywood Bowl’s biggest tenpin bowling venues. They will be joined by a number of other leisure and catering brands to provide new and compelling experiences at what is already one of the UK’s most popular shopping and

leisure destinations. Rebecca Ryman, regional managing director at intu, said: “We’re investing millions at intu Lakeside to ensure that it can deliver one of the biggest and best shopping and leisure experiences in the country and it’s exciting to see our plans take shape with the appointment of McLaren Construction to build the first phase of the centre’s extension. “It is going to provide a fantastic new space for leisure brands to flourish at intu Lakeside and create even more compelling reasons for families to enjoy a day out experience with us.”

Rushden Lakes eco-store opens House of Fraser has opened its first full bricks-and-mortar store in nearly a decade at the Crown Estate’s Rushden Lakes development in Northampton. The 64,000-sq ft unit is also the brand’s first green retail store certified to the BREEAM sustainable building standard. Green features includes a 6m x 8m living wall that is home to more than 2,000 plants and an art installation made entirely of recycled wire and featuring local bird species. The architecture and store interior have been designed to connect with the beautiful

natural setting of Rushden Lakes. Also open at Rushden Lakes is the new flagship store for Two Seasons, Wildwood and the Boardwalk Splash Zone meaning that nearly three quarters of tenants are now open, with Hobbs, River Island and Flying Tiger still to come. Since opening on 28 July, Rushden Lakes has proved hugely popular with thousands of shoppers in the first weeks enjoying the unique mix of retail and leisure, and visitors travelling from as far as Devon and Scotland to enjoy the Rushden Lakes experience.

St Enoch extension unveiled Sovereign Centros has submitted a planning application to develop three new flagship retail units at the prime junction between Argyle Street and Buchanan Street in Glasgow city centre. The new stores will range from 5,000 to 21,000 sq ft and will be connected to the internal mall of the St Enoch shopping centre. The plan to provide flagship units forms part of Sovereign Centros’ business plan for St Enoch, and follows on from the recent signing of Vue cinema to anchor the new East End leisure 4 | SHOPPING CENTRE SEPTEMBER 2017

development, as well as the recent investment to refurbish the centre’s food court. Subject to approval, the units are forecast to be open in Autumn 2019 Asset management director Paul Bailey said: “The recent application to enhance holdings on Argyle Street forms a significant part of our ongoing business plan to provide best-in-class accommodation for our retailers and an enhanced customer experience. Negotiations with retailers for flagship stores are already progressing well.” CBRE advised on planning.


Most BHS stores lie empty JLL wins three UK portfolios New research from the Local Data Company shows that one year on from the collapse of BHS, 82 per cent of the store group’s 160 stores lie empty. Thirty five stores (22 per cent) have deals or planning permission pending which brings down the figure of those lying empty and with no plans to 60 per cent (96 stores). Of the 23 that have been reoccupied, fashion occupiers have taken up seven stores, discount stores six and DIY three. Primark has been the biggest taker of former BHS stores, with four currently trading. The next biggest occupier is The Range with three. Other occupiers to take over BHS units include Next, B&M Bargains, Pep&Co, Morley’s, Sports Direct, TK Maxx, TJ Hughes, Poundworld Extra, Buyology, Home Bargains and Dunelm. A number are applying for change of use including the Princes Street store in Edinburgh for conversion to a hotel; Taunton, where a gym will operate above a Poundworld and Glasgow where plans are in place to change the

former store into a cinema. LDC director Matthew Hopkinson said: “The best of the old BHS stores have been taken by the value retailers who can operate profitably out of large stores in high footfall towns. Many of the others are unlikely to be reoccupied as shops and therefore alternative uses must be sought."

JLL’s property & asset management team has been appointed on a trio of large national portfolio instructions during the first seven months of 2017. The instructions from Aviva Investors, Royal London Investment Management and LaSalle are worth nearly £10m in revenue over the next three years. Following a competitive tender, JLL was appointed to manage 150 properties located throughout the UK for Royal London Asset Management, on top of the 130 it already managed for RLAM. JLL has also been appointed as joint managing agents with Colliers on the Friends Life portfolio for Aviva Investors. JLL is responsible for the management of 100 properties including shopping centres in Windsor, Andover and Guildford. Finally, JLL was appointed to manage seven additional funds for LaSalle Investment Management with a total of 115 properties and 500 tenancies. Nick Lees, lead director UK Property & Asset Management, said; "The commitments made by all three investment firms is consistent with our ambitious growth strategy targeting opportunities where we can bring real value to our clients and generate a sustainable return on our efforts.”



Vancouver revamp begins The redevelopment of the Vancouver shopping centre in King’s Lynn is due to start thanks to an innovative deal being sealed between LAP and Oaktree Capital and King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council. The local authority’s progressive approach to the regeneration of King’s Lynn town centre has seen it renegotiate a 250-year lease on the empty former Beales department store. In releasing the space for redevelopment, the council has cleared the way for the delivery of a 20,000-sq ft anchor store for H&M, together with four other retail units. The Vancouver Quarter shopping centre is owned by a joint venture

between LAP and US investment management firm Oaktree Capital. The 385,000-sq ft centre, anchored by Sainsbury’s, Wilko and TK Maxx, already attracts a footfall of 165,000 visitors a week and following the closure of Beales, the owner identified potential to further boost the open-air scheme’s appeal to modern retailers. David Gooch at letting agent GCW said: “This deal has come about thanks to a dynamic public/private sector partnership and confirms what can be achieved through innovative collaboration. The redevelopment will greatly enhance Vancouver Quarter’s tenant line up and its appeal as a shopping destination.”

Hemel revamp in for planning Capital & Regional has lodged plans with Dacorum Borough Council for a £13m reconfiguration of The Marlowes shopping centre, as it progresses its long-term vision for Hemel town centre. The proposals initially include a new nine-screen cinema, located within the main mall, and the refurbishment of part of the centre to create a new dining offer, comprising six units. Capital & Regional will also remodel the northern entrance to the centre which will be the primary arrival point for the new leisure offer. The Marlowes comprises over 100 retail units across the Marlowes shopping centre and adjacent buildings on the

Marlowes Street. Stores include Marks & Spencer, Argos, Wilko, River Island, Poundworld, New Look, JD, The Perfume Shop, Ernest Jones and The Entertainer. C&R bought the 340,000-sq ft Marlowes for £35.5m in 2016. Since then the company has invested an additional £18.3m to consolidate its ownership in the town centre to enable the delivery of its long-term plans to create a revitalised retail and leisure offer for Hemel. Retail asset manager Gareth Holland said: “We are excited to unveil the first phase of our plans for The Marlowes. The addition of a cinema, alongside a new family dining offer, is integral to our vision to create a modern, vibrant town centre with a thriving day and evening economy.”

Ellandi signs six at Yate Ellandi has let space to six retailers including Papa Johns, Yours Clothing and The Entertainer at Yate shopping centre in Bristol which it asset manages for the Yate shopping centre unit trust. Papa John’s has agreed a new 15-year lease on 1,260 sq ft. Loungers, the café chain, has also agreed a 15-year lease, taking 3,500 sq ft and the Entertainer has agreed a new lease on 4,000 sq ft of space. These three retailers will occupy the newly refurbished unit at 32-36 West Walk opposite the town’s library and leisure centre. Hairdresser Karizma and Yours Clothing have agreed five-year leases 6 | SHOPPING CENTRE SEPTEMBER 2017

on 1,099 and 3,726 sq ft respectively. Gift retailer Cards ‘n’ Wrap has signed a three-year lease at 31 North Walk. The 550,000-sq ft Yate shopping centre is located 12 miles to the north east of Bristol and occupiers including Tesco, Boots, Marks and Spencer, Superdrug, Next and New Look. Alex Kalebic, associate director at letting agent Savills' said: “The centre is a large, well-let scheme that benefits from a strong catchment population and annual footfall in the centre standing at around 12 million people. We are currently in discussion with a number of other retailers looking to take space in the centre.”

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SUN SHINES ON SOLAR Two large shopping centre installations show that solar PV still has a bright future


ears that changes to feed-in tariffs and the UBR revaluation would spell the end for large-scale solar photovoltaic projects on shopping centres have proved unfounded, with British Land and Landsec rolling out major new installations this summer. Indeed Landsec has set a new record with the installation of the biggest solar PV system at a retail site in the UK. The installation, situated on the roof of the White Rose shopping centre in Leeds, consists of 2,902 individual panels which will generate 680,000 kWh of power a year and provide 39 per cent of the daytime electricity used in the mall areas of the centre. In its first year the system will reduce carbon emissions at White Rose by 250 tonnes, the equivalent of over half a million miles of passenger car emissions, and produce enough electricity to power over 200 UK homes for 12 months. The PV installation will maximise on-site renewable


energy generation, reduce electricity consumption from the grid and deliver significant financial benefits to retailers based at White Rose. It forms a key part of the ongoing sustainability strategy at the centre, which includes a comprehensive bio-diversity programme alongside energy efficiency measures and a focus on reducing food waste. Syzygy Renewables acted as project manager for Landsec and the PV was installed over a period of six weeks by EvoEnergy. John Macdonald-Brown from Syzygy Renewables says: “From experience, we know that solar installations not only reduce grid consumption and save costs but contribute towards more sustainable behaviour overall. It’s encouraging to see large commercial real estate investors like Land Securities seeking to reduce their carbon footprints and future-proof their assets”. According to EvoEnergy the project was not without


its challenges: completed over a six-week period, the 783 kWp system is fixed to the centre’s large curved roof space, requiring a mounting system that angled the panels up by 15 degrees to face south and maximise the generation potential of the array. Since completing the installation at White Rose, EvoEnergy has started work installing 50 kWp on another of Landsec’s regional retail properties, Trinity Leeds, and the project is expected to complete in early September 2017. Scott Parsons, Landsec’s managing director, retail, says: “We are extremely proud to have set a UK-wide benchmark for renewable electricity. Landsec is committed to setting and achieving ambitious sustainability targets and this is a fantastic example of how innovative thinking can benefit both retailers and the environment.” Landsec aims to be at the forefront of sustainable energy innovation in the UK property sector. Across its portfolio, nine assets have their own solar PV installed, each of which reduces energy consumption from the grid. And last year, Landsec became the first property company in the UK to use 100 per cent renewable electricity. At the same time as the White Rose project was underway British Land was installing 1,100 solar panels

at the 337,000-sq ft Serpentine Green regional retail shopping centre in Peterborough. Covering 19,500 sq ft, the Peterborough system will generate about 275,000 kWh of electricity, enough to power 85 homes for a year or drive an electric car 1.2 million miles. During the summer months, 22 per cent of the annual electricity demand for the centre’s common areas and car park will be met by solar energy. Annually this is expected to save 140 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to taking 2,155 cars off the road. Again, Syzygy Renewables managed the project on behalf of British Land while Solar Advanced Systems was the contractor. Matthew Webster, head of wellbeing & futureproofing for British Land, says: “Serpentine Green’s solar photovoltaic system further demonstrates our commitment to future-proofing our assets – unlocking additional income streams whilst helping to protect us and our customers against risks such as increasing energy prices. Alongside identifying renewable sources of energy, our well-established energy efficiency programme means we carefully manage our energy consumption. This programme has already delivered £13m of gross savings for our occupiers.” SEPTEMBER 2017 SHOPPING CENTRE | 9



Legal & General has completed the first phase of its refurbishment of the Grafton centre in Cambridge, as well as giving the centre a new identity.




he 484,000-sq ft centre is in the middle of a complex refurbishment, but completion of the first phase is a significant landmark, setting the tone for the rest of the project and giving the centre a new public face. The Fitzroy Street façade has been given a striking new double-height glazed entrance, providing more natural light. The roof of the entrance mall has been lifted to create new double height shop fronts while new flooring and feature roof lighting create a fresh, contemporary ambience. At the same time Eden Walk, next to the main entrance, is being converted into three or four large units with the independents that previously traded there relocated. According to Tom Williams, senior asset manager at L&G, deals are already under negotiation. “We’ve been encouraged by the level of interest,” he says. As part of the project, the centre’s toilets have been moved to the first floor, freeing up ground floor space for a new retail unit. Centre manager John O’Shea, who moved across town from Grand Arcade to see the scheme through the refurb, is well aware of how important public toilets are to the perception of a centre. “These are the best in Cambridge,” he says. Coinciding with phase one of the refurb, Decathlon has opened in 15,000 sq ft, with 5,000 sq ft at ground floor and 10,000 sq ft of previously unused first-floor space. The brand is a natural fit with the city’s youthful demographic and in its first few weeks the store was trading 20 per cent above budget in its best-ever UK opening. Another recent arrival is toy store The Entertainer which took a ground floor unit, totaling 4,800 sq ft, on a 12-year lease earlier in the year. Completion of the year-long first phase is an opportunity for the centre team to take stock and it’s immediately clear that the refurbishment has become a bigger undertaking than was initially proposed. “When we acquired the centre in July 2015 we budgeted £18.5m for the refurb,” remembers Williams, “but in response to changing demand that’s grown to £28m as the scope of the project has grown quite dramatically.” And O’Shea adds: “The scheme deserves it and the catchment deserves it. I joined because the project’s exciting.” Contractor ISG has already moved on to the second phase of the refurbishment, focussing on the Central Court area. Flooring and lighting are being renewed and the columns revamped to emphasise the double-height space. And O’Shea and his team are getting a new management suite. On completion of the works in December 2017 Costa will relocate into 1,600 sq ft of mall space,

HEARTS & MINDS Keeping a large shopping centre trading through a complex and disruptive refurbishment is a challenge, and in the current climate retailers can ill-afford to lose trade, so L&G and managing agent JLL focussed their efforts on driving footfall through the duration of the project. A large slice of marketing budget was diverted for agency Bewonder to create the Grafton’s very own free newspaper as a way of engaging with its core audience as it undergoes major changes. With a print run of 30,000 per edition The Grafton Press keeps shoppers up to speed with the latest news and progress, alongside retailer-focused stories, seasonal fashion and features on the wider Cambridge community. It is distributed to homes across the city as well as being given out at the bus and train stations. “This is one of the many ways that we are engaging with shoppers and the wider community during what is an extremely exciting time for The Grafton,” says L&G’s Williams. In another initiative the frontage of a void unit is being converted into an interactive Pac Man-style game. Not only will it activate some otherwise dead frontage, but every day’s winner will receive a voucher to be redeemed in-store in one of the centre’s tenants. “The aim is to support our retailers through the refurb” says O’Shea. He concedes that footfall was down while the main entrance was closed, but sales actually showed a smaller decline, underlining the enduring loyalty of the Grafton’s core audience as well as the success of the marketing team’s mitigating strategies.

almost doubling its footprint. Phase three, focussing on the Great Court area, will follow in the first quarter of 2018. The collapse of BHS, which formerly anchored this end of the centre with a 48,000-sq ft store, opened up an opportunity to bring new occupiers into the Great Court. A planning application has been made to convert 17,500 sq ft at first floor into a Pure Gym unit, while a fashion operator is in negotiations for the remainder of the store. Phase 3 will also cement the Grafton Centre’s leisure offer. Vue has already upgraded its cinema, and now plans are in place to create Food Social, a cluster of five restaurants of between 2,500 and 5,000 sq ft and two kiosks at first floor level opposite the cinema foyer. Prezzo has already signed and will be trading by Christmas. The cinema had been in separate ownership but earlier this year L&G bought in Orchard Street Invest Management’s interest in order to give it more control.

“The aim is to knit the cinema better into the centre,” explains James Feltham, associate director at project and asset manager Wrenbridge. “The Grafton centre is going to be the only scheme in Cambridge with a combined retail, leisure and F&B offer.” Like the Grafton’s retail offer, the catering will be firmly mid-market and aimed at a family audience. And completion of the current programme may not mark the end of L&G’s ambitions for the Grafton centre. Williams points out that Cambridge is planning 52,000 new homes by 2030 with major employers like AstraZeneca, Google, Microsoft and Amazon all expanding. “Cambridge is a diverse and growing city and the Grafton centre has real potential to provide an exciting retail and leisure destination for the city’s growing population,” he says. “Our core business plan was to focus on the existing centre, but we have other ownerships in Burleigh Street and we’ll move on to these next.” SEPTEMBER 2017 SHOPPING CENTRE | 11








With a year to go until opening, the £30m Riverwalk redevelopment in Durham has reached a key landmark with the completion of demolition of the north half of the former Gates shopping centre


ue to complete in summer 2018, significant progress has been made at the Riverwalk in Durham. Owned by a fund managed by Clearbell Capital, the £30 m redevelopment of the Riverwalk will include a variety of restaurants, 23 refurbished shops, a six-screen Odeon cinema as well as improved entrances and public realm areas. The scheme is part of a wider initiative to enhance the city’s amenities both during the day and at night-time. As part of the development, 253 student rooms will also be built. The steel frame and floors to the restaurant, cinema and the student accommodation buildings are currently being installed, along with the repaving of the terraces and lower ground floor areas. The next few months will also see the installation of the steel frames and floor slabs to the shopping centre

completing, along with the student accommodation element of the development at first floor level. The remaining construction work to the student accommodation building will commence, followed by the construction of the building facades and the roof. The first restaurant at the Riverwalk, Thai River, opened its doors in late December 2016 and now the F&B offer is taking shape as further operators sign up. Cosy Club, the informal casual drinking and dining restaurant will open a 5,300-sq ft restaurant on the first floor, on a 15-year lease. And Caribbean bar and restaurant Turtle Bay, meanwhile, will bring its all-day happy hour rum cocktails and spicy foods to a 4,700-sq ft unit over two levels. Clearbell Capital partner Nick Berry says: “This is an exciting time for Durham as we reach a significant milestone in the development pipeline. We look forward to completing work on site next summer to

create a truly mixed-use waterfront destination that will cultivate the local economy and deliver improvements to the city’s day and night-time offering.” Letting agents are Cushman & Wakefield and Fawley Watson Booth. SEPTEMBER 2017 SHOPPING CENTRE | 13

SHOPPINGCENTRE Features Schedule 2018 January



Christmas Planning ahead for a successful festive season Commercialisation Maximising non–rental income Click & collect Serving the online shopper

Marketing Powerful tools to extend reach F&B/Leisure Adding diversity to the tenant mix Insurance Risk mitigation to avoids claims

Parking Quarterly review Customer Analysis Tracking shopper behaviour

October June

February Sustainability Efficient energy and waste management F&B/Leisure Adding diversity to the tenant mix Markets Traditional format still draws the crowds

March Parking Parkex preview Security Securing the shopper experience

April Commercialisation Maximising non–rental income Customer Service Putting the shopper first Ireland All Ireland retail property survey

GRAHAM PARKER Editor 07956 231078

Parking Quarterly review Sustainability Responsible shopping centre Investment

Commercialisation Maximising non–rental income Sustainability Efficient energy and waste management Ireland All Ireland retail property survey



Commercialisation Maximising non–rental income Cleaning Minimising hazards and improving appearance Events Planning and executing a major draw

Marketing Powerful tools to extend reach F&B/Leisure Adding diversity to the tenant mix Technology New applications change the face of property management



F&B/Leisure Adding diversity to the tenant mix Security Securing the shopper experience Digital Social media drive loyalty

Parking Quarterly review 2018 Preview Looking ahead

IAIN HOEY Editorial Assistant 07757 946414

TRUDY WHISTON Sales Manager 01293 416090


Abbey Centre eases Shropshire begins customer journey terminal refresh Swarco Traffic has installed a new parking guidance system at one of Northern Ireland’s premier shopping centres, Abbey Centre, Belfast, which has 1,265 free car parking spaces. The investment is part of a major rebrand and redevelopment to attract new retailers and enhance the customer experience. The contract covered a combination of seven variable message signs and seven car parking count sensors that combine to alert visitors to where spaces are available. The sensors automatically report to the relevant VMS on how many spaces are available at each of the centre’s car parks. Over 115,000 shoppers visit the centre every week

and the installation is already helping to reduce congestion and improve convenience for shoppers. Additionally, Swarco implemented its PGS Management software that communicates directly to the centre’s management via GPRS. Key strategic information is made available to inform the client’s decision making, and ensuring they are aware of the centre’s peak times – so that the messages displayed can be amended accordingly. Centre manager Mark Stewart said: “Swarco designed, installed and managed the process seamlessly with all works occurring out of hours to minimise inconvenience to shoppers, retailers and all stakeholders.”

Shropshire Council has installed 25 new eco-friendly Parkeon StradaPAL parking terminals as part of a county-wide replacement programme involving up to 160 machines. The new terminals, located both on and off street in Shrewsbury town centre and in Bridgnorth, enhance customer convenience through multiple payment options, including chip & pin, contactless and coin, and will also enable the council to provide print-on-demand discount coupons in the future. The StradaPAL terminals are linked to Parkeon’s Parkfolio central management system, enabling the council to monitor their estate remotely and to obtain detailed parking and payment data to inform future strategies. Steve Davenport, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “These new, stateof-the-art machines mean we can now offer a modern, much improved,

parking service, and we hope we’ll soon see similar machines in place around the county under our proposed new parking strategy.”

than the regular cost. CitiPark’s MD Ben Ziff hopes the emissions-based technology will improve air quality by encouraging motorists towards greener vehicles: “We

believe that the infrastructures supporting the automotive industry and governmental green agendas should also be adopting the same forward thinking approach,” he said.

CitiPark trials green tariffs UK parking operator CitiPark has formed a partnership with APT to trial emissions-based parking tariffs at its Clipstone Street site in Central London. The installation is the first of its kind in the UK, which sets individual parking tariffs according to vehicles’ CO2 emissions – therefore incentivising city drivers towards low or zero emission vehicles. The system at Clipstone Street uses

ANPR cameras to identify and record each vehicle as it enters a car park, and compares the license to a database that includes details on CO2 emissions. Those details are subsequently taken into consideration on payment, with the correct tariff automatically calculated. Cars emitting up to 75 grams of CO2 per km, defined as an ‘ultra low emission vehicle’, qualify for a cheaper tariff with rates starting at 20 percent less





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ithin the past six months, both Q-Park and National Car Parks (NCP) have seen takeovers from strategic overseas investment companies. Netherlands-based Q-Park, which was previously owned by a consortium of shareholders, began the sale process last year, with global investment firm KKR successfully outbidding investment bank Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund II (MEIF2) with a €2.95bn bid. And in a separate transaction, MEIF2 sold its 100 per cent interest in NCP to a consortium of Park24, a listed Japanese strategic buyer and Development Bank of Japan. But why the flurry of deals? Car parks are desirable and potentially lucrative assets for a number of reasons. They are essentially cash businesses collecting relatively small sums from hundreds of drivers on a daily basis. But at the same time they occupy prime real estate in terms of location thanks to the public’s desire to walk as short a distance as possible. The closer to city centres and shopping malls they are the greater their income is likely to be. They are, by and large, a solid investment on the basis that their location will keep traffic flowing through day in day out. And the size of the portfolios run by both companies make them strong assets. NCP has the UK’s largest collection of car parks in the UK with over 150,000 spaces in over 500 sites, with 37 in London alone. In terms of USP, it offers ‘great customer service’, a 24/7 national helpline, a range of products and services and promotes itself as socially and ethically

responsible, securing 100 per cent of the energy it uses from green sources. The purchase brings NCP under the wings of Park24 which owns over a million parking spaces in 19,000 parking sites across eight countries. Q-Park is one of Europe’s leading parking service providers with over 6,000 parking facilities housing almost 900,000 parking spaces in North-western Europe. It has a workforce of over 2,000 full-time employees, and in 2016 it logged a record financial performance with a net revenue of €825m with EBITDA of €195m. From an investor’s point of view parking is a stable industry and one that looks to remain so. The corporate takeovers can be seen as a vote of confidence in a sector that is becoming increasingly valuable – and there is certainly power in the portfolio. Monopolisation is a tried and tested means of increasing profitability, and with the backing of a more powerful owner comes the room for greater investment and improvement in an already strong sector. For NCP, the expertise that will be brought by Park24 is likely to assist in pulling up the international standing of both parties. CEO Jo Cooper calls the change in ownership a step in the right direction. She says: “Macquarie have been a very responsible and supportive owner over the past ten years and I am delighted that the ownership is moving towards a similarly long-term focused owner in Park24 who wish to continue to invest in our future. The entire company has been focused on successfully building NCP, and I am incredibly proud of everyone in the business who has played a part in achieving this. We









are a company that has worked together with complete focus and our ultimate aim was to attract a like-minded business that would help us take NCP towards its next goal.â&#x20AC;? And under KKRâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ownership, Q-Parkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s CEO and chairman Frank De Moor and CFO Marcello Iacono are to continue to head the management team, with all current arrangements with work councils, relevant trade unions and company staff still in place â&#x20AC;&#x201C; implying that, for the time being at least, it will be business as usual. However Q-Parkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s De Moor believes the ownership change marks an important period for the company. He predicts further growth, saying: â&#x20AC;&#x153;With KKR Infrastructure as a new and strong shareholder we have the best partner to accelerate the roll out of our existing strategic growth plans, explore suitable acquisitions and leverage our scale. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We continuously strive to be a frontrunner in the industry by applying smart technology, combining best value with a seamless customer experience. This will also better position us for teaming up with public and private partners, launching new business propositions and provide mobility solutions for the challenges cities are increasingly facing.â&#x20AC;? And Jesus Olmos, global co-head of KKR infrastructure, gives his own vote of conďŹ dence in the investment: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Q-Park offers us an investment opportunity that matches our longterm view on the characteristics of the parking industry and off-street parking in particular. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Q-Park is a high-quality company with a strong management team, a highly knowledgeable employee base and a

well-diversiďŹ ed asset portfolio. KKR Infrastructure has full conďŹ dence in Q-Parkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s management team and we look forward to supporting the current growth strategy by further strengthening Q-Parkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s market leading position and further enhancing its reputation as a best-in-class parking operator.â&#x20AC;? There is no lack of conďŹ dence in the corporate level deals being made, but what does this mean for parking as a whole? Is it perhaps an indication that consolidation of the fragmented parking industry us on the horizon? It is important to bear in mind that car parks are complex structures that are liable to rapid wear and tear because of the heavy traffic they carry. Owners and operators need to make provision for constant investment in maintenance, and for unexpected problems as NCP found ďŹ rst last month when part of a wall came away at its Cumberland Place site in Nottingham, leaving vehicles dangling precariously over its edge. Fortunately the collapse occurred in the early hours of the morning and nobody was injured. Big investors such as KKR and Park24 would argue they are better able to adopt a long-term approach while smaller car park owners operators might adopt a short-term band aid approach to maintenance. Only time can tell as to how the new owners will react to the challenges facing the parking sector, but the sheer size of the investment should at least be a testament to the conďŹ dence surrounding the strength and stability of the UK car parking industry.

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GETTING IT RIGHT FIRST TIME Automatic number plate recognition ticketing has transformed parking enforcement, but it is not without its pitfalls



here is always room for human error. From mistyped phone numbers to misspelled email addresses, we are all capable of a finger slip or forgetting a digit in an important combination. In most cases, the consequence is likely to be trivial, but when it comes to parking, keying in one wrong number can result in an unwarranted parking fine. “When we moved into ANPR there was a gap in the market,” tells Kenny Marland, director at HX Car Park Management. “I felt that there was a lot of negativity around ANPR even though it is a great technology. Many of our sites have 24 hour opening times which meant the ticketing system suited us, so this negative attitude to the technology was a concern and it was something we wanted to overcome.” ANPR is a highly accurate computerised system capable of reading vehicle number plates using high speed image capture. The technology recognises the sequences of letters and numbers on number plates by detecting characters within the images provided, verifying the character sequences as being those from a vehicle number plate, and using this character recognition to convert the image to text. The result is a set of metadata that identifies an image containing a vehicle license plate and the associated decoded text of that plate. There are many benefits that come from using ANPR technology within car parking facilities which include: parking automation and parking security, parking access automation, ticket-less parking fee management, vehicle location guidance, car theft prevention, lost-ticket fraud, fraud by changing tickets, and simplified, partially or fully

automated payment process, among others. Its benefits have made it a successful ticketing system for many car parks, but it is not without it errors, and drivers are most often on the receiving end of these technical faults. “We believed from the outset it was just morally wrong to issue a ticket to someone who had accidentally entered the wrong information,” says Marland. “Take my gran for example. If she went to an ANPR pay and display car park, nine times out of ten she would get her registration number wrong. She wouldn't do it on purpose to try and avoid paying for parking, it would be a genuine error of her mind and age. So as an extension, if I won't give my gran a ticket, why should we give anyone else a ticket under the same circumstances?” The benefit – and the pitfall – of ANPR is that it is machine-operated and requires no human interaction on the operator-end of the process. It cuts the need for manpower but it allows room for mistakes if, for example, somebody accidentally puts in their information incorrectly a fine for lack of payment will land on their doorstep. It is a basic admin error, but simple miscommunications such as these can quickly damage reputations and make drivers wary when it comes to choosing where to park. Which is where HX’s manually ticket-vetting service comes in. “We have a blanket policy that every single ANPR ticket has to be manually vetted by staff,” Marland explains. “This involves the data from the machine and camera and cross reference. For example, if your vehicle registration is MF09 AUN and you entered the car park at 11am and you typed in a single digit wrong it would flash up as a PCN (parking charge notice).


“At this stage our manual vetting process takes over. All our PCNs go onto a 'hold' status, when we have tickets on this status we go through and check each one individually. Using our ANPR system, we look for similarities between the ANPR camera images and the pay and display machine data. We would look at the pay and display data from 11am (when the car entered the car park) and look at all the entries made around that time. If we could see a payment for 'AUN' or MF01 AUN' or 09AUN' or MF09 NUA' or anything that is obviously similar, then we void that ticket instantly without the driver ever knowing. This year to date we have voided 9,263 PCN's, none of which have been sent to the DVLA or processed as a PCN, after we spotted the error.” While there is an argument for the fact that people should really remember their own number plate, the vetting system is there to benefit those making genuine errors. “The drivers our system helps the most are the elderly, along with people with a disability or mental health condition who struggle to remember the registration plate in full, including those with dementia and dyslexia,” says Marland. “Overall it helps everyone as all humans make genuine errors at some point.” The manual vetting process is, however, a slow one. HX

currently employs staff working six days a week to keep the process going. Whilst many parking operators use ANPR technology, most do not manually cross-reference the tickets because it does take time and can cause a loss in revenue. But Marland says that in this instance, the customer dissatisfaction through being wrongfully ticketed outweighs the cost of the system. “The main reason is fairness,” he explains. “Most shopping centres and retail parks have big brands who rent from them and it is very important that parking does not have a negative effect on their businesses. Having a fair system means the flow of traffic will allow high footfall for the parking spaces and if anyone did receive a parking charge from us then they wouldn't feel hard-done-by as we only issue tickets after a full vetting process. This means we keep appeals and complaints as low as possible. “From day one of using ANPR we set our standards and we will keep the standards regardless of the time it takes. If this means we have to employ more and more staff to keep up with growing demand then so be it. There is not a chance we would ever break away from our USP, I am proud of building a fair system and we will maintain it at all costs,” Marland concludes.



CONNECTED CITIES NEED CONNECTED CAR PARKS Making the connection: cities, cars and car parks


‘connected city’, also known as a ‘smart city’, relies on an intelligent infrastructure which utilises the wealth of innovation and technologies created by Internet of Things (IoT) and applies them to urban needs. There is a plethora of new and emerging devices and equipment that can sense the environment and / or their own status, send data, and even receive commands – the data that they create and collate enables organisations and individuals to better navigate ‘the real world’ by predicting trends and providing real-time information and guidance. The ‘connected car’ (not to be confused with the self-driving or semi-autonomous car), can be defined as “any vehicle equipped with internet access that allows data to be sent to and from the vehicle”. It's estimated that, by 2020, 75 per cent of new cars will be ‘connected cars’, bringing technology designed to make driving safer, more efficient and easier to use to the forefront of the driving experience. Coupled with the advent of electric, semi-autonomous and, ultimately, artificial intelligence in cars, the driving


experience is set to change rapidly over the next few years, and future-proofing car parks is a major challenge for the sector.

CAR PARKS OF THE FUTURE In the connected city environment, car parks will experience many changes as the domino effect of in-car innovation takes hold: connected cars create vast amounts of real-time data; semi-autonomous or self-driving vehicles will park themselves; electric vehicles will need to re-charge from car park docking stations; and parking fees will be processed via a virtual parking system using mobile payments. As in-car technology becomes ever-more sophisticated it will rely on car park operators being able to share dynamic data about location, space availability, and pricing with a wide range of apps, road traffic management systems, vehicle-to-vehicle data, public transport, and journey planning systems. Incorporating parking data into the intelligent mobility infrastructure is a massive challenge which the sector has already started to work towards to some degree. Many connected cars already offer parking information


to efficiently guide them to an available space, reducing congestion and frustration.

As in-car technology becomes ever-more sophisticated it will rely on car park operators being able to share dynamic data


in their satellite navigation systems, but this content has historically been limited to static off-street parking data (location, number of spaces, fees, opening hours etc.), requiring a software update to remain current. However, dynamic data relies on localised factors to detect real-time availability and surrounding traffic flow, which is why sensor based innovation, such as Clearview’s inground wireless bay occupancy sensors, is critical to the immediate future development of parking. Sensors can not only monitor the current parking situation, but also help to resolve the issue of congestion by providing the right intelligence to operators and drivers to optimise the parking experience. When linked to the Insight Parking software platform, Clearview’s sensors can provide valuable real-time and historical intelligence about a car park's use and enable operators to manage capacity to minimise user frustration. Live space availability information can be fed directly to Variable Message Signs to create an intelligent solution that provides users with real-time guidance information

And there is already evidence that local authorities are moving toward connected car parks. For example in a recent parking project in Guildford, Clearview Intelligence worked in collaboration with Ethos VO, Guildford Borough Council and Surrey County Council, to explore the potential of the GEOmii Parking Platform. The project was part of a £1m Innovate UK-funded city scale demonstrator project. Guildford was selected as a trial site on the basis that it is a large town which experiences the typical challenges of many growing urban locations in relation to congestion and poor distribution of parking spaces. The GEOmii parking platform uses Clearview’s parking bay sensors and loop detection counters to monitor car parking spaces in and around Guildford town centre. The system provides visibility over parking space occupancy and feeds live parking occupancy data to the system interface, enabling dynamic parking guidance to be relayed to drivers seeking a parking space in Guildford. Rather than just providing real time traffic data, the parking platform uses a predictive algorithm to guide drivers to less congested areas where availability is expected. By directing drivers toward less popular parking facilities during peak traffic periods, the solution can help to reduce bottlenecks and congestion, and optimise revenue from all available parking assets.


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RETAIL RENAISSANCE Retail, both sides of the border, has been the biggest winner as Ireland’s economy recovers


reland’s retail sector appears to have entered calmer waters after a decade of turbulence, and Savills’ latest economic bulletin notes that last year’s economic momentum carried over into the opening half of 2017. GDP growth has accelerated to 6.1 per cent pa (against an EU average of 2.4 per cent) as Irish consumers regain their confidence, and core retail sales grew at an annualised 7.1 per cent in the opening half of 2017. Unsurprisingly, this is driving demand for retail units, and Matthew Walaszek, senior research analyst at CBRE Research, reports: “Of the 10 locations surveyed as part of CBRE’s bi-annual high street vacancy study, five locations recorded an improvement in occupancy rates, which is encouraging.” 24 | SHOPPING CENTRE SEPTEMBER 2017

According to CBRE’s research Galway had the lowest high street vacancy rate at 1.83 per cent with only two units currently vacant. Vacancy rates in Waterford and Belfast remained relatively stable in the six-month period. Athlone and Kilkenny recorded the biggest decrease in ground floor vacancy rates in the last six months, reducing by -2.3 per cent and -1.2 per cent, respectively. Limerick and Cork had slight increases in vacancy while Killarney and Sligo rose by 2.9 per cent and 7.7 per cent, respectively. However activity on Dublin’s prime streets and in the cluster of regional shopping centres that encircle the capital has been more subdued this year, according to CBRE’s retail director Bernadine Hogan. “The main reason


for the decline in transaction volumes in the retail sector is a shortage of premises as opposed to a deterioration in occupier demand,” she says. “While some UK retailers have put expansion plans on hold, demand remains strong for well-located neighbourhood schemes and shopping centres from service occupiers, food & beverage operators and beauty. We continue to see international retailers seeking to secure stores in prime locations, while many indigenous occupiers are continuing to roll out expansion programmes across the country.” Hammerson’s Dundrum town centre remains a favoured launchpad for brands looking to enter the Irish market, and luxury British cocoa grower and chocolatier, Hotel Chocolat, has recently chosen Dundrum to open its first café store in Ireland. The addition of Hotel Chocolat to Dundrum follows a number of firsts for the centre, which include Smiggle’s debut store in the country and its most successful opening globally, as well as Volvo, which chose the venue to unveil its latest model for the first time in Ireland. Simon Betty, Hammerson’s director of retail for Ireland, says: “The centre is Ireland’s leading retail and leisure destination, making it the ideal venue for the brand to launch in the growing Irish market. Since taking ownership of Dundrum last year, we have worked to leverage our relationships with domestic and international brands in order to ensure an exciting and fresh retail mix, and this latest debut is testament to the success of that strategy.” Similarly, a lack of opportunities is likely to put the brake on retail investment activity after a stellar 2016 which saw record levels of activity. Savills calculates that 21 shopping centres changed hands across Ireland in 2016. With a combined price of more than €1.9bn, they accounted for 86 per cent of all retail investment. The two standout deals were Blanchardstown Town Centre in west Dublin which was bought by US institutional investor Blackstone for €950m and Liffey Valley shopping centre, also in west Dublin, which was bought for €630m in December 2016 by BVK, Germany’s largest public pensions group. Outside the capital, Whitewater shopping centre in Newbridge Co. Kildare, was also bought by a German fund – DEKA Immobilien – for €180m while Golden Island shopping centre in Athlone Co. Westmeath was bought by Credit Suisse for €43.5m. The biggest deal of 2017 is likely to come at The Square in the Dublin suburb of Tallaght. The 27-year-old mall is one of the last major assets held by Nama, Ireland’s bad bank set up to warehouse distressed property investments in the wake of the global financial crisis. Now the agency has instructed Cushman & Wakefield and JLL to sell the centre with a reported €233m price tag. Anchored by Tesco, Debenhams and Dunnes Stores with 160 individual units, the centre draws 22m shopper visits annually. The sale follows a long planning and legal battle which was finally resolved this year, clearing the way for 120,000 of additional retail space in two phases as well as the construction of a new multi-storey car park taking total parking capacity to 2,800 spaces.

SHOPPERS LOOK NORTH FOR VALUE The post-referendum slump in the value of the pound is drawing retail spend from the Republic into Northern Ireland, giving a welcome boost to shopping centres and retail parks. The largest single commercial property transaction to take place in Northern Ireland in recent years has seen Wirefox Investment Group buy CastleCourt shopping centre in Belfast for £125m from Hermes Fund Managers. CastleCourt opened in 1990, becoming Belfast’s first major shopping centre with 340,000 sq ft of space housing more than 100 retailers. Located on Royal Avenue at the heart of Belfast’s retail district, the centre, anchored by Debenhams, draws an annual footfall in excess of 12.5m, and also has the city’s largest car park, with 1,600 spaces. Savills advised the purchaser and Ben Turtle, head of office at Savills Northern Ireland, says: “Despite the shock of Brexit and ongoing political uncertainty, the retail sector in Northern Ireland continues to perform strongly, with positive retailer performances and robust letting activity.” Another investor looking to capitalise on Northern Ireland’s retail resurgence is the Lotus Group. In partnership with Tristan Capital it is working to reposition two key schemes, the Outlet at Banbridge and the Junction at Antrim, which previously battled head-to-head as rival outlet malls. Under the plan off-price retail is being consolidated at the Banbridge site, which will also gain a new leisure element, while the Antrim site is being converted into a full-price mid-market scheme as part of a wider mixed-use development. Lotus Group’s director of asset management Alastair Coulson says the biggest physical change at the Outlet is the installation of a lightweight EFTE roof. “Obviously the weather in Ireland is an issue, so this will improve the customer experience,” he says. And his other priority is to inject more F&B and leisure into the tenant mix, building on the £4.5m investment in an Omniplex cinema. A planning application is currently in to replace the retail units facing the cinema with casual dining restaurants which Coulson hopes will open in mid2018. Talks are also under way with a gym operator while kids’ attraction W5 is relocating into the scheme’s emerging leisure zone. “We need to create an offer that will draw people from places like north Dublin, Drogheda and Balbriggan regardless of currency issues,” Coulson says. And at the Junction, a planning application has been lodged for 200,000 sq ft of additional bulky goods retail and new F&B space. Coulson says a decision is expected before the end of the year, with a number of retailers poised to sign including two operators looking for 50,000 sq ft each. “This will establish the Junction as a very different offer. You won’t recognise it,” he says. “People are now seeing physical change, and retailers are beginning to understand how we’re differentiating the two assets,” Coulson concludes. “The pendulum’s beginning to swing.”



GET READY FOR GDPR New data protection regulations are going to challenge the way marketers capture and hold customer data


arketers and consumer analysts have nine months to review the way they handle customer data, in a move which could have wide implications for shopping centres that hold customer data from card sales, surveys, events and other marketing campaigns. On 25 May 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation comes into force, aiming to unify data protection regulations across the whole of the EU. Primarily, it aims to give individuals greater control over their personal information which is held by businesses and state authorities. So how are consumers likely to react to their new


rights? A new survey from SAS asked 2,000 consumers in the UK how they plan to exercise their new data rights, particularly in the retail arena. The survey found nearly half (48 per cent) of UK adults plan to activate new rights over their personal data, with 15 per cent of adults polled intending to activate their new rights as soon as the GDPR comes into force. The 45- to 54-year-old age group is most likely to issue a request, with just over one in ďŹ ve (21 per cent) thinking they will active their new rights in the ďŹ rst month. The propensity to submit a request drops to 13 per cent in the 18- to 24-year-old age category. There are regional variations,



64 per cent welcomed ‘the right to access’ (ie get a copy of personal data held about them) 62 per cent welcomed ‘the right to erasure’ (ie erase personal data from certain systems) 59 per cent welcomed ‘the right to rectification’ (ie correct personal data that is inaccurate or incomplete) 56 per cent welcomed ‘the right to object’ (prevent the use of data for marketing and profiling) 54 per cent welcomed ‘the right to restrict processing’ (prevent the use of data when they contest its accuracy) 43 per cent welcomed ‘rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling’ (the right to seek human intervention following an automated decision they disagree with) • 38 per cent welcomed ‘the right to data portability’ (obtaining and re-using data)

with adults in the North East and South East more inclined to submit a request within the first month (18 per cent). This drops to 12 per cent in Wales, 11 per cent in the East of England and just 7 per cent in Northern Ireland. Clearly, compliance with the new data rights is going prove challenging for organisations. Gartner recently warned that by the end of 2018 at least 50 per cent of companies will not be in full compliance with the regulations. The consumer poll explored which organisations would receive a request to remove or provide access to consumer data with social media companies, retailers, insurers and supermarkets ranking top of the list. “Finding customer zero is a huge challenge for some organisations” says Charles Senabulya, vice president and country manager for SAS UK & Ireland. “Personal data is often stored in thousands of databases and organisations will need to find, evaluate and categorise every piece of data relating to each customer to ensure compliance,” he explains. “Overcoming this challenge presents an opportunity for organisations as they form a new type of relationship with their customers that is bound by integrity, understanding and respect for their individual choices. We are entering a new data era that requires a firm grip of customer data. One that rewards consumers as well as protects their right DATA HOLDER

to privacy.” The poll also asked consumers what information they were prepared to share with their favourite brands or organisations, so they could benefit from improved or tailored services. It revealed that only a minority would voluntarily share what their friends and relatives like or dislike (5 per cent); details on their social media activity (6 per cent); information on their feelings or emotions (7 per cent) or insight into their credit rating (8 per cent); political preferences (8 per cent) and opinions on societal issues (9 per cent). In contrast 41 per cent would share basic demographics; 24 per cent would share personal contact details; 24 per cent would share partner status; 22 per cent would share shopping habits; 19 per cent would share lifestyle and cultural interests; 17 per cent would share sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or disability; 16 per cent would share their favourite brands and 14 per cent would share media preferences. And it seems the younger you are, the more willing you are to share your personal information. The poll revealed that the percentage of people willing to share information in each age category generally decreased with age. This suggests a shift in attitudes towards personal data among a new generation of consumers. % REQUEST DATA REMOVAL


Social media companies












Political parties/organisations



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Employers/previous employers





CONNECTING THE DATA Michelle Buxton, group managing director at Toolbox Group, highlights the need for insight-driven centre management.


ombined, all the data collected by retailers and shopping centres can be collated into one overview of the traffic that flows through a shopping centre: who they are, where they’re going and when, what they’re buying, how long they’re staying for. There’s something at every touchpoint in a consumer’s shopping trip that gathers information about shopper habits. But there is a disconnect. “Retailers have been forced to be clever with data collection, analysis, segmentation and targeting with the growth of touchpoints and channels over the last decade,” says Michelle Buxton, group managing director at Toolbox. “Data is fast becoming a brand’s most vvaluable asset, and and source of data architecture is now a core activity ac competitive advantage. surprising that the po“However, it is still surp to use insight tential for shopping centres cen that is, and could be, available to them is rarely realised to their th full potential.” Essentially, there ther is a lack of all the communication between b Retailers data-gathering operations. o Shopping cenare collecting data. d collecting data. Car parks tres are collec are collecting data. But these data banks are not interlinked. of data such “Basic sources sour sales and customer as footfall, sale records are only on a fraction of insight that is available right under management,” the noses of centre c “One of the elaborates Buxton. Bux the right main issues is having h systems to collect colle and manage intelligence. There is often still the view is resource that data management manage heavy and overly complex but that is no longer the case. There are


powerful ways to integrate the various sources of data, and systems, into powerful platforms.” Platforms include Toolbox’s own Mallcomm. It is a tool which integrates footfall systems, car parking systems, speaks to retail staff at all levels, and works with marketing, security, maintenance and cleaning teams, collecting all the available information together in order to create a snapshot of the goings on inside a shopping centre. The data it generates allows centre managers to understand how efficient their business is and highlights the points where things can be improved and optimised to create the ultimate customer experience. The possibilities are endless and yet the bank remains untapped as long as the data is being guarded. For retailers, working alongside the shopping centre it trades from rather than fighting against it is in the long run likely to be far more beneficial in creating and sustaining customer loyalty, as at the end of the day most shoppers don’t just go to one retailer. The bottom line is that the centre-to-store relationship is at a perpetual standoff. Retailers know everything about shoppers when they’re in their stores, but as soon as they leave and enter them mall, they don’t. Likewise shopping centres know what shoppers are doing in their malls, but not in stores. This gap is one that needs bridging in order to create the optimum shopping experience, and though it is never to be an easy fight, working together is bound to make it far easier. “Connecting retailers and shopping centres through Mallcomm has really given us an insight into the potential for data sharing,” says Buxton. “Whilst we’ve gone some way to do that, we still have a long way to go, but we are definitely seeing the benefit from linking retailers and centre teams. There are now 250,000 Mallcomm users, and we’re seeing an average of 90 per cent retailer engagement, so access to audiences and shared insight is making an impact on not only marketing but the way these centres are run,” Buxton concludes.


THE THREE TIERS OF ANALYSIS Dr Tim Denison, director of retail intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance, explains how to build an accurate picture of shopper habits.


ccording to Ipsos Retail Performance’s Retail Traffic Index, store footfall in UK malls is currently down by 4.5 per cent for the year to date. The way to combat this? Close customer analysis. The best tools for driving footfall are knowing what your customer is doing and why, and making your centre a desirable destination for shoppi shopping. The most difficult thing So what aspects of for many malls is to remain relevant. rel shopper behaviour are the th most important to track? “We use three princ principal layers to compile shopaddress how a mall stays conper insight and addres tells Tim Denison, nected with its community,” comm director of retail inte intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance. The ‘layers’ ‘layers in question are: examining listening to customer feedback, meta-trends, listenin and using customer ttracking technology. are the latest social The first layer, meta-trends, meta changing the face of retail patterns that are ch the world. One big meta-trend around th is the shrinking attention span of the cconsumer. ““Humans only have 24 hours in a day, but now have ho more ways than ever to m fill that time, yet people fi are turning off and tuning out, whilst companies try increasingly hard to connect with them,” says Denison. “Malls must tap into the market and make the shopping experience simpler and more convenient for the customer. The question this raises is how do

malls make things simpler for people to shop?” Another trend the retail intelligence company has identified is that generation divide that is beginning to cause a strain on the retail offer in malls. “We read all the time about the differences between ‘Gen Zs’, ‘Millennials’ and ‘Baby Boomers’, and it begs the question – how can malls that have been designed for ‘Baby Boomers’ be modified to accommodate other cohorts?” says Denison. “These are just two examples of trends we have identified, but they serve to demonstrate the profound impact that they can have, and the need to include them as part of any customer analysis.” The second layer comprises listening to customer feedback from surveys, online engagement and every kind of customer interaction, and understanding the attitudes of shoppers towards the shopping environment. “These sources provide valuable input on how shoppers think a shopping mall is performing, not just against competitors, but for their wants and expectations,” Denison explains. “Are the revamped crèche facilities hitting the mark? How exciting is the Christmas events plan? Are the coffee shops as good as the ones in the neighbouring retail park? These all have a bearing on how well the mall proposition matches local needs.” The final layer is tracking shoppers and watching what they are doing, rather than what they say they are doing or how they are feeling. “Footfall and sales figures have provided invaluable input and output KPIs for many years, but what shoppers do inside a mall is typically a bit of a black box,” Denison tells. “In contrast, online shopping trip analysis is more transparent and this has led to the demand to replicate journey mapping in the physical world. Thanks to the development and refinement of various digital technologies and mobile telemetry we are now able to analyse how shoppers navigate a mall, where they spend time and identify customer demographics, lifestyle profiles and shopper habits.” SEPTEMBER 2017 SHOPPING CENTRE | 29


Retail sales fall in the year to August Retail sales declined in the year to August, disappointing expectations that growth would hold broadly steady, according to the latest quarterly CBI Distributive Trades Survey. The survey showed that, in the year to August, the volume of sales fell at the fastest pace since July 2016 and overall, sales for the time of year were considered to be below seasonal norms to the greatest extent since October 2014. 34 per cent of retailers said that sales volumes were up in August on a year ago, whilst 44 per cent said they were down, giving a balance of -10 per cent - the lowest since July 2016 (-14 per cent). This was below expectations (+20 per cent) and below July’s performance (+22 per cent) But looking ahead to next month, retailers expect sales volumes to rebound in the year to September. 35 per cent of respondents expect

sales volumes to increase next month, with 16 per cent expecting a decrease, giving a balance of +19 per cent Within the retail sector, grocers saw stable sales on the year, following strong growth last month, and footwear and leather performed well, whilst specialist food & drink stores reported another month of significantly falling sales. Anna Leach, the CBI’s head of economic intelligence, said: “Despite the warmer weather at the start of the month, retail sales have cooled as higher inflation continues to squeeze consumers’ pockets. Meanwhile, deteriorating sentiment regarding the business situation has combined with falling headcount among retailers. “Looking ahead, firms do expect sales growth to recover, but the pressures on household budgets are set to persist, given little sign of wages picking up.”

Footfall fails to react to summer sun UK retail footfall results for July 2017 from retail footfall analysts, Springboard, showing retail parks enjoyed growth ahead of high street and shopping centres. Overall footfall in July fell -1.1 per cent against the previous year, below the three-month rolling average of -0.4 and the 12-month of -0.2 per cent respectively. High streets (-2.1 per cent) and shopping centres (-1.3 per cent) showed a decline, where retail parks (1.7 per cent) saw growth. It was the fourth consecutive month of footfall decline in shopping centres. The East and South East were the only two regions that saw footfall growth in July, with the fastest growth in the East, which has now seen eight months of consecutive footfall growth. East Midlands showing the fastest decline of all the regions on the high street at -4.7 per cent. The steepest decline in footfall in July occurred in the South West and Greater London, both showing a fall of -2.1 per cent. Wales showed the first decline in seven months, at -0.9 per cent. Scotland saw a further decline from -0.2 per cent in June to -0.4 per cent July. Springboard’s insights director Diane Wehrle said: “July’s results might well mark a sea change in consumers’ willingness to spend, as it was the first time since January that footfall dropped during both retail trading 30 | SHOPPING CENTRE SEPTEMBER 2017

hours and into the evening. Over the last few months the growing importance of the leisure based trip has become a key part of the narrative when talking about retail destinations, but a -0.5 per cent drop in footfall post 5pm in July is the first evidence of a tightening of purse strings on casual dining and leisure trips. Declining footfall demonstrates that the fall in non-food sales is due to a reduced number of shoppers, so retailers that maintain their in-store footfall are at a clear advantage. Despite a drop in fashion sales, consumers increased their spending

on products for the home and out of town locations are the beneficiaries. July’s +1.7 per cent increase in out of town footfall is the fifth in as many months, and averaging +1.9 per cent since March compared with -0.3 per cent over the previous five-month period. These results together with the high level of consumer borrowing and an increase in the vacancy rate to 9.6 per cent from 9.3 per cent in April – the highest it’s been since July last year – suggest that trading conditions could be reaching a tipping point into a period of restraint.”


Rates revaluation opens new opportunities New research from CACI has identified the top retail locations in the UK which, following the business rates valuation, will actually be more affordable for retailers The research highlights a number of ‘premium’ retail destinations including Peterborough, Canterbury, Chester, Cheltenham, Southampton, Exeter, Solihull and Cambridge which have all seen a drop in rate valuations of at least 5 per cent. The researchers also looked at the medium-sized areas which have all seen a drop in rating valuations of at least 20 per cent, and could begin to attract cost-conscious retailers. These include Middlesbrough, Coventry, Northampton, Hull, Preston, Wakefield, Wolverhampton and Plymouth. To come up with the ranking, CACI looked at all the the top 177 retail centres in England and Wales, which between them account for 50 per cent of all retail spend, and cross-referenced their average market rents as estimated by the Valuations Office Agency with their average change in business rates liability. Alex McCulloch, associate partner at CACI, said: “London has been a major focus for a lot of retailers who have been looking to expand, but the revaluation means that there are now a lot of great opportunities outside of the capital. Our figures show that

despite a lot of preconceptions around the business rates changes, there are areas that have a lot of potential which may have previously been overlooked. If retailers are looking to grow their coverage across the UK, it would be worth investigating some of these areas and taking advantage of new locations.” CENTRE














King's Lynn


















Independent retailer profile – JeremyMutebi As a finalist in this year’s inaugural Young Startup Talent Hampshire, a competition which is open to 16 to 25-year-olds who wish to run their own ventures across Hampshire – 20-year-old Jeremy Mutebi, an economics undergraduate from the University of Southampton, was given the chance to promote his online style consultancy and affordable couture at Fareham shopping centre with Space to trade this summer. Jeremy, whose online services include personal shopping, off-the-peg, made-to-measure and bespoke ensembles for every occasion, told us how he got into his style of snappy dressing and his interest in couture. “It all began in college where we had to wear suits every day. I was aiming for a modern-day mix between Harvey Spector and James Bond but

the guys at my local suit store didn't know how to style me that way. I bought blazers and trousers from the likes of Top Man and River Island and taught myself how. JeremyMutebi solves the problem of wanting to look like James Bond but you either have don’t have the time or the know-how.”’ Space to trade account manager Helen Frost, who worked with Jeremy to help in bring his brand to visitors to Fareham shopping centre, said: “Jeremy was most engaging and very smartly dressed; he certainly practises what he preaches and has a great business mind. He had lots of interest from visitors to the centre and certainly enjoyed his week trading. I think Jeremy is just one of those people that will succeed in life, whatever he decides to do and I wish him the best of success with his business going forward.” SEPTEMBER 2017 SHOPPING CENTRE | 31






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e Customer experienc is at the heart of t n e m e g a n a m il a t e r

Customer e experience xperience is largely replacing the term customer service – but how is it different asks Charlotte Crawley Customer service was traditionally considered at each touchpoint the customer had with an organisation, whether at the till or on the phone when making an enquiry. Organisations thought that by training staff to be polite and helpful then they would be getting customer service right. The fatal flaw is that this approach misses so many elements of customers’ interactions with organisations and didn’t typically tie together those experiences. Customer experience, on the other hand, is about the end-to-end delivery, across multiple platforms, multiple touchpoints, for multiple customers to create a seamless and effortless journey. It should also connect with customers’ emotional experience and aim to bring an added wow factor. This requires a customer experience strategy unique to each centre. Shopping centres have evolved; so should the customer experience. Not forgetting, of course, that the brands within a centre are also themselves customers – of the landlords and managing agents. With the change in our social environment, shopping habits, competition from online and our increasingly precious work-life balance, shopping environments are now about more than just shopping. They are where we combine our shopping and leisure time and are also used as hubs for time-freeing services, making the importance of ‘the experience’ greater than ever. I am constantly surprised by how many centres and owners still leave customer experience either to chance or to the operational teams. Clearly there are centres and landlords doing excellent work in 34 | SHOPPING CENTRE SEPTEMBER 2017

this area, but across all the shopping destinations in EMEA this is still a very small percentage. Customer experience is a specialism. It should work in conjunction with marketing and operational teams to deliver seamlessly from a customer’s first interaction, which could be through the website, travelling to and visiting the centre – right through to potential follow-up via a query on social media. Having someone within the team dedicated solely to the experience from the viewpoint of the customer is invaluable to a shopping centre. When we look at what we typically ask our customers in, for instance, exit surveys the focus has traditionally been on favourite stores, spend, what new brands they would like to see, and where they live. These are all useful for marketing and the leasing strategy. But where are the questions regarding what impacted either positively or negatively on their journey today, how they feel when coming to this centre or a different centre, and what makes the experience enjoyable on arrival? While these are not necessarily questions to ask in exit surveys as they need time to delve a little more deeply – they do need to be asked. When you consider that 95 per cent of customers do not complain when there is actually a problem, how many people are not coming to your centre because of a challenge in their journey or an underlying emotional response which they themselves might not even be aware of? Experience destinations such as Disney, leading retailers such as John Lewis or hotels from Hyatt to Premier Inn do not leave customer experience

to chance. They have specialist teams focused on customer insight, customer journeys and customer delight (there are many more areas) and embed it throughout the operational delivery. This is designed specifically to ensure that customers experience effortless journeys, maximum enjoyment and cannot wait to tell their friends – or even the world through social media – what a great experience they have had, and that they return again and again. Charlotte Crawley is head of customer experience, asset service at Cushman & Wakefield


NewRiver tames tantrum NewRiver is rolling out ‘tantrum taming’ training for all security staff as well as range of other support staff across its 33 shopping centre portfolio in the UK this summer to help make family shopping for all. Recent research commissioned by NewRiver shows over a third of parents claim that their child has thrown a tantrum while shopping and almost half say they would rather avoid a shopping trip with the children for fear of them misbehaving. With this in mind, NewRiver enlisted the expert help of child psychologist Dr Sam Wass from Channel 4’s The Secret Life of Four Year Olds series who has been involved in the successful training of the 150 security staff

across NewRiver’s UK-wide shopping centres in towns. The training involves advice on spotting potential flash points and how best to support children and parents while shopping. It also highlights that something as very simple as a smile can help children feel they are in a friendly place. “We cater for over 150 million shoppers up and down the UK and we are constantly looking to enhance and improve the customer experience,” said Donna Callander, shopping centre marketing manager at NewRiver. “Families are one of the core shoppers and our research and work with Dr Sam Wass has highlighted how the behaviour of an unhappy child can impact the whole experience of a simple trip to the shops to pick up a few essentials.”

This month’s moves . . . SAVILLS has appointed SHAUN RHODES to head POP Marketing, a service within its property management division which provides event management, PR, digital marketing, strategic marketing and social media advice. He was formerly head of marketing at centre:mk in Milton Keynes and marketing manager at Cheshire Oaks designer outlet in Ellesmere Port.

INCENTIVE FM has appointed Sheryl Inman as regional director for the North. She was previously senior corporate property manager at the National Grid Corporate Property. ANDY BAXTER, previously general manager at Interserve and STEVE ALDERSON, formerly national operations manager for UK Mail Group and TNT, both join as account directors.

CAPITAL & REGIONAL has appointed JOE SWINDELLS as projects director in its retail development team. He has been a senior development manager at Ballymore Group, and spent five years as a project director at Hammerson.

INTERSERVE has appointed IAN MCILROY as its new retail sector director. He brings with him over 30 years’ experience in the retail industry, including 20 years spent specialising in store and regional operations for some of the UK’s largest brands such as Tesco and Matalan.

BMO REAL ESTATE PARTNERS has appointed MATTHEW HOWARD as director, property funds. He joins from Hermes Investment Management where he was deputy fund manager for the Vista UK Build To Rent/PRS Fund.

High speed shopping In a first, Westfield London has launched a 40 metre zip-line at the centre, as part of its pop-up forest experience, Future Forest. Located in the Atrium at Westfield London, the zip-line is suspended 5.3 metres above the centre’s floor with the 40 metre descent starting from the top of a leafy treehouse. In conjunction with Bompas and Parr, Westfield London is giving shoppers the chance to experience a real forest in the centre, complete with an immersive Fruit Cloud (a walk-in breathable and lick-able aromatic cloud with regularly changing flavours) as well

as a mini exhibition showcasing plants that create electricity, the magic of spider silk, and an historic tree circus alongside artefacts, artworks and anecdotes about forests and nature. Future Forest is all about imagining how nature can play a far more important role in our lives, particularly within cities. Westfield's chief marketing officer, Myf Ryan, said: “The Adventure ZipLine will offer a thrilling addition to the immersive Future Forest experience, which really delivers on providing a unique experience that has never been done before."

URBAN&CIVIC has appointed JON DI-STEFANO, chief executive of Telford Homes, as non-executive director and member of the audit committee.

LCP has promoted JULIAN DIAMOND to retail director. He joined LCP in 2004 as an asset manager with responsibility for a mixed portfolio of retail, office and industrial premises in the South East of England and in Scotland.



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Shopping Centre Magazine - September 2017  
Shopping Centre Magazine - September 2017