Community malls remain resilient

Click & Collect drives footfall to community malls

Community shopping centres remain resilient in the retail sector due to consumer shopping patterns resulting in a lower proportion of represented retailers having transactional websites compared to regional malls. This is in addition to community centres having a critical role in ecommerce fulfilment, with 13 per cent of visitors using click and collect services, according to a new report from Savills and Ellandi.

The report, Retail Revolutions: Exploring The Impact Of E-Commerce On Local Physical Retailing, highlights that despite challenges from rising ecommerce, increased costs, structural shifts, several CVAs, and the rhetoric that accompanies these issues, there are positive stories in the retail sector. Online retail continues to dominate the growth story, but it is becoming increasingly clear that for many brands bricks and mortar stores remain key outlets for customers to interact with their omnichannel offer.

While no sector is entirely immune from challenges brought on by ecommerce, Ellandi and Savills say that the community shopping centre market and other local convenience driven centres will continue to be occupied by a mix of retailers for whom ecommerce is a side show, as well as brands that use the store as a core part of their supply chain, a means to bring the online and offline channels together and customers in store. For many retailers physical space is proving to be both a complimentary and synonymous part of their overall omnichannel strategy.

Online trade accounts for only 12% of the UK sales of the top 100 community shopping centre brands compared to 20% in regional malls, according to the Savills/Ellandi report. 68% of the top 10 brands present in community shopping centres have an internet offer, compared to 80% of those in regional malls, with centres tending to focus on goods and services that are not as readily available online, thereby proving more resistant against moves towards online retailing.
Tom Whittington, retail research director at Savills, said: “With a greater proportion of retailers with no online offer, or online accounting for a low proportion of their UK sales, while not completely immune from the impact of ecommerce, the stores in community shopping centres remain a core and relevant part of retailers’ businesses and one of the best opportunities for them to engage with customers. Ecommerce may not prove to be the major threat anticipated for retailers in these schemes as many of these brands offer a distinct point of difference, with instore service, experience and convenience being paramount.”

Isabelle Hease, head of research and analytics at Ellandi, added: “Click and collect has a natural synergy with the convenience of local high street and shopping centre locations, giving shoppers a purpose to visit. According to our research, collection services are currently used by 13 per cent of visitors to community shopping centres and are highly effective at bringing shoppers in store and increasing basket spend, with those who use them averaging a £40 basket spend, versus £29 for those who don’t.”

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