FI Real Estate Management’s Head of Shopping Centre Management Bernard Ferris was one of a number of ‘Expert Panellists’ to take part in the recent CPD Event, held by the College of Estate Management in Manchester.
The event follows on from the most extensive ‘Sentiment Survey’ carried out in recent years to test opinion on the key challenges that the Shopping Centre industry will face in the future. With subjects as diverse as future Service Charge patterns right through to what Shopping Centres will have to do to build customer loyalty, it was a true barometer of what the people at the sharp end of the business, Shopping Centre Managers, thought would be the big issues.
The current economic recovery was highlighted as probably having the biggest effect on occupier demand going forward, but the impact of ‘on-line’ transactions and how traditional retailers react to that change, was predicted to be the big influencer. A lively discussion on how the industry uses social media to its advantage attracted a lot of opinion, with many in the audience feeling that the current ‘scattergun’ approach to the marketing tool could be as damaging as it is positive.
Ferris said, “We as an industry are certainly going to have be more imaginative in the way that we use town centre space with Leisure taking an increasingly important role in that picture. All the research seems to point to the fact that consumers want to use their town centres for much more than shopping so we need to learn from that evidence and react accordingly.”
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