Observation from travelling through many Shopping Centres’ sees a lack of centre management presence on the retail floor. Retailer feedback suggests they see centre management only if there is an issue or the leasing executive at renewal time. Retailer presentation, in particular kiosks and casual mall leasing is not consistent and not reflective of what was approved during the design process. The presentation over time deteriorates with site lines impacted and clutter collecting on counters etc. all taking away from the retailers initial vision. Centre furniture moved by cleaners not put back in the right place and quite often casual mall leasing/ pop up shops impacting the traffic flow, often with poor visual merchandising.
Monitoring these issues, understanding and engaging our customer, engaging with the retailer and our supplier partners not only improves our credibility as managers but in turn reduces paperwork and reporting as experience tells us, many of these matters end up being resolved through this process.
Understanding the sales and traffic performance together with experiencing it “hands on” in the marketplace is essential. It is disappointing that this is a diminishing practice, I have experienced this throughout various organizations and it is a criticism of our industry in general. Send an email, send a text….we are too busy to engage.
Good management practice in shopping centres, that could also be applied to other asset classes would be the following;
- Safe to Trade – led by the operations manager to ensure that prior to trade the centre is safe to be open to our customers.
- Licence to Trade – Led by the Retail Manager or Marketing Manager includes the CML manager where possible and occurs approx. 9am to ensure all retailers are within lease lines, casual mall leasing presents well and isn’t breaching any agreements and effectively gives the centre an imaginary “Licence” to trade for the day.
- Centre Trading Walks – Centre manager would walk the centre at least twice a day as well as various other team members engaging with various retailers and customers about centre performance and industry news. It may only be 5 retailers a day but executed well will improve our credibility.