More commercial success could be achieved if shopping centre owners and occupiers worked more closely with one another, industry representatives argued at a conference in Edinburgh this week.
Speakers at the British Council of Shopping Centres (BCSC) Shopping Centre Management Conference (SCM) agreed that greater cooperation between tenants and landlords can help boost the industry at a time when it faces competition from online retail and a tough economic climate.
Richard Akers, BCSC President and Managing Director for Retail at property group Land Securities, argued that a combination of good asset management, not pure location, will help separate the best shopping centres from the rest.
Akers commented: “The last few years have shown that we need to be able to adapt to change, and to share information so that we can actively and appropriately manage our assets to the benefit of all parties.
“Never have owners’ and occupiers’ objectives been so aligned in the need to create successful retail destinations for our customers.”
One New Change, the new Land Securities-owned shopping destination in the heart of The City of London, is one retail hub following this mantra to good effect.
In an interview with Retail Gazette last month, Centre Director Robert Goodman revealed that the early success achieved by One New Change is partly down to the leases arranged with tenants.
“The contracts are representative of the market, but a high percentage of the leases are organised on a turnover basis,” he stated.
“This helps give confidence to retailers, and as the business grows it becomes a win-win situation for everybody.
“Working with retailers to drive sales is very much what we are about.”
Head of UK Retail at Standard Life Investments Ed Jenkins, also speaking at the SCM in Scotland this week, admitted that the economic downturn has acted as a catalyst for change in the shopping centre industry in recent years.
“Profitable partnerships are not only about pounds, shillings, and pence, but also cooperation and building sustainable, long-term relationships that will eventually feed through to a financial return for both parties,” he explained.