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Asset management meets commercialisation

each centre. “Every patch of space needs to be looked at,” says Cullen. Ask ‘could it house two RMUs, could it be event space or could it be a site for a customer service kiosk?’” And one piece of space doesn’t have to be limited to one use,

according to Cullen. She says spaceandpeople’s Retail Profile division is now using ‘just in time’ RMU’s to backfill space when it’s not booked for promotions or events. But Cullen warns that an asset management approach doesn’t

mean always trying to maximise income, as commercialisation activity contributes to the success of a mall in less tangible ways. “There’s a real risk of the boredom factor taking over if all centres

Landlords are paying more attention to the revenue that RMUs and promotional events can deliver


he commercialisation industry in the UK has reached a tipping point, according to spaceandpeople’s joint MD Nancy Cullen. “It’s growing at a time when other parts of the retail sector are

in decline,” she points out. Most important, according to Cullen, is a shift in landlord’s perception

of commercialisation. With rental income under pressure, landlords now recognise commercialisation as an important income stream. And equally, they now recognise that commercialisation activity is highly visible in a mall, and therefore it has to be treated as part of the overall centre mix. This increased prominence brings increased responsibility, however,

and progressive landlords are now recognising that they have to asset manage their mall space just as they do with tenanted space. The first step, according to Cullen, is to draw up a strategic plan for

have the same RMUs,” she says. “The danger is we let our malls become wallpaper, but managed properly they can become an important point of difference for any centre.” And her advice is always to look out for local operators with

interesting products. As an axample, she points to Manchester Arndale, which has signed Bobo Tea, selling Bubble Tea which originated in the Far East and has already become very popular in the USA. Another RMU that has become a point of difference for Manchester

Arndale is YoFro frozen yoghurt, while Xcover has taken a kiosk unit to sell mobile phone accessories. “It may be a reaction to the recession, but people seem to be becoming more entrepreneurial,” notes Cullen. But whether it’s dealing with local start-ups looking for RMUs, or with national brands planning experiential marketing campaigns, the important thing is that activity should form part of a properly-resourced commercialisation plan, says Cullen. “Centres need a plan for commercialisation, and they need money attached to that plan,” she says.

Find out more: For more information, please contact the author: October 2011 SHOPPING CENTRE

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