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perhaps the equivalent of a John Lewis store within the shopping centre offer.

Keith Pullinger, founding partner of cinema and leisure consultant

Cinema Next, believes that cinemas enjoy a starring role for destinations. The company’s clients have included AEG, Hammerson and Westfield London. It advised the latter on creating a viable premiere alternative to the traditional Leicester Square and it has recently advised the fashionable W hotel on its private screening room. “Cinema and leisure in general will form a growing role in shopping centre space moving forward,” Pullinger says. “UK centres have perhaps been slow to recognise the need to bring leisure, entertainment and retail together. Cinemas drive footfall, extended opening hours and a mix of quality restaurants as opposed to daytime food court offers. Also, key to this is the owners and cinema operators working together on loyalty building and marketing strategies.” Not everything has worked, however. In the UK the closure of

Borders arguably cost the sector its best-in-breed brand fusion point. However it might also be argued that Apple now enjoys that mantle and, in fact, that Apple additionally enjoys that iconic ‘third place’ designation status previously afforded to Starbucks and select others. For Andy Grant leisure has shifted far away from simply bolting

on “leisure black boxes” as some developers wanted to do in his early days in the UK. “That desire has now, of course, changed dramatically to my mind

in close proximity to, bars, cafes & restaurants, a cinema and so on,” Soanes says. “That’s just on a basic level without even looking at mall aesthetics, location or even the retail mix. We know that consumers’ minds are open to the promotional activity they are exposed to when they are in a leisurely mental state. Shopping is now seen by consumers as its own leisure activity because retail destinations are seen as destinations where they can be at leisure.” It’s a view that has likewise percolated through to the airport sector,

according to Danny Sloan, MD of AirportXperience, a company that helps airport operators to create suitable environments. “Travel retail is an integral part of the airport experience and is the

catalyst for driving commercial revenues and traveler satisfaction,” Sloan says. “The airport experience and travellers’ satisfaction can be enhanced significantly by airports’ travel retail and, increasingly, leisure experience. It requires an innovative environment: one that embraces technology satisfying their aspirational needs.” And in the leisure/retail mix cinemas, particularly multi-screens, are

with Bluewater,” he says. “It created an environment with beautiful ambient features and a focal point location for visitors to also relax and enjoy the environment they were in. The first time I walked into Bluewater I said, ‘They finally have it right. This is the best retail experience I’ve seen in the UK. It has achieved international standards.’ “As for the future for the UK, I believe that developers are on the right track,” he adds. “It’s difficult to find the right mix between leisure, retail, and entertainment. It requires sophisticated market research to ensure that the developer understands how the visitor will use the facilities and to make sure that the experience is repeatable. The developer should also not shy away from trying new entertainment and leisure elements.” MindFolio’s Kalcher says owners and developers now must consider what he terms the “experience matrix”. “Every decent shopping centre should create and work on one and

it should define and calibrate services, leisure temptations, hospitality treats, sensory attractions – sense of place, tone of voice, etc – in a fairly analytical way,” he says. “Over time, a great experience that is relevant to customers will probably represent the most potent and sustainable defence and alternative to on-line trading, and indeed, provide centres up and down the country with a new reason for being.”

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June 2007

September 2007

September 2007

November 2007

Sheffield’s River Don burst its banks leaving the lower mall under water, the centre remained partially closed for more than two weeks.

Meadowhall suffered severe flooding after

the £340m Westfield Derby six months ahead of schedule.

Westfield opened

regeneration scheme in Belfast city centre was 80 per cent pre-let ahead of its March 2008 opening.

Victoria Square, the £320m

Princes Square shopping centre and adjoining offices for £107m. October 2011 SHOPPING CENTRE

Glasgow’s 100,000 sq ft

Redevco bought

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