Is convenience killing off Polish shopping centres?

by ShopperTrak on 06-24-15

Shopping centres in Poland have a new enemy, and it’s called convenience.

Consumer activity may be on the increase – retail sales increased more than expected during the past quarter – the way people shop is changing, and it’s having a significant impact on shopping centre footfall.

Over the past few years, the country has seen a shift away from the popularity of the shopping mall model, towards smaller, convenience shopping centres.

This has been compounded by the growth of discount brands such as Biedronka in Poland. Although they are marketed as grocery stores, these cut-price chains sell many fashion, homeware and lifestyle products, all at a rock bottom price.

As a result, shoppers no longer need to stop at their local shopping centre to pick up a variety of goods; they can purchase a new pair of jeans or some cookware during their weekly food shop.

What does this mean for Poland’s shopping centres and the retailers within them? Firstly, they can’t sell the same volumes of goods they once did, as new discounters muscle in on the market.

Secondly, the aggressive pricing strategy that convenience stores have adopted is driving down the profit margin on the goods they do sell.

Finally, shopping centres are having to work much harder to tempt consumers away from their local area. Where once shoppers had to travel to buy goods, the new stores that have sprung up makes travelling to a mall or retail park seem like a major effort.

This may paint a dark picture for the retail industry, but all is not lost. While shoppers may not arrive in the volumes they once did, there are still opportunities for shopping centres to maximise the value of those who do come along – if they understand those visitors.

Being a retail intelligence expert, FootFall has worked with hundreds of shopping centres to analyse the complete consumer journey, in order to make better business decisions.

For example, we can help you identify peak visiting times – down to the hour – and map those visitors’ journeys around the centre. We can identify which facilities such as car parks, cash points and on-site restaurants are being used most frequently.

More than that, we can identify hot and cold spots within the centre, so that property managers can optimise the retail mix – and ensure rental incomes are reflective of retailers’ venue positioning.

Whether we like it or not, retail has changed. Only by understanding exactly how shopper trends have shifted, and reacting to consumer behaviour right now, will shopping centres be able to claw back value from the increasing convenience threat.

Maciej Kowalczyk is FootFall’s country manager in Poland. Contact Maciej to find out how FootFall can increase the value of customers in your store or centre.


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