Convenience and destination prove key for future-proofing UK shopping centres

14 September 2016

Physical stores continue to play a vital role in the retail experience according to the new Spotlight: Retail Revolutions report from Savills and intu.  The research found shopping centres topped the ranking for purchasing clothing and footwear, with 43.4% of respondents placing them in their top three preferred locations. 

Shopping centres are well-placed to maximise consumer spend, states the report, which in turn benefits the performance of retailers by attracting shoppers from a larger catchment.  The preference for shopping centres was even more pronounced among Generation Z (16-24 year olds) and Generation Y (25 to 34 year olds), with 62.9% and 53.4% respectively placing them in their top three shopping destinations.

Mark Simms, head of shopping centre agency at Savills, comments: “The appeal of shopping centres, particularly amongst younger demographic groups, highlights the role the wider retail environment can play in attracting consumers.  In turn, this maximises the performance of individual retailers.  Shopping centres generally fall under a single management strategy, putting them in a better position to deliver a more comprehensive and attractive shopping environment with the additional leisure facilities and other amenities that today’s consumers expect.”

The report also highlights the potential opportunity for shopping centres to become ‘destinations’ in their own right and encourage customers to spend a day out there rather than stay at home and shop online.  This has the added benefit of attracting a greater number of customers from beyond the centre’s traditional catchment.

Marie Hickey, commercial research director at Savills, says: “For shopping centres, the variety of the retail offer, introduction of new brands, shopper events and food amenities are all factors that can be combined to enhance the destination appeal and provide a competitive edge with augmented ‘draw factor’ for consumers.”

The research also acknowledges that the need for convenience in terms of shopping centres is paramount for Baby Boomers (55 to 64 year olds), who place this as a priority over destination.  This goes some way to explain why a large proportion of Baby Boomers ranked small local high streets (45%) and online shopping (40%) in their top three preferred locations.  City centre based schemes are also popular with this group.

Rebecca Ryman, regional director, intu, adds: “Striking the balance between destination and convenience is fundamental for shopping centre landlords wanting to deliver an overall offer and experience that meets the everyday needs of their local catchment.  A strong and diverse retail offer supported by the right leisure facilities and combined with ease of access are key to generating a wider appeal and thus helping to future-proof the success of a shopping centre.” 


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