The Shopping Centre Management Conference 2014 - Report

Published:  24 April, 2014

The Shopping Centre Management Conference - organised jointly by Shopping Centre and the BCSC - drew almost 500 delegates to the Holiday Inn Birmingham on 20 March 2014.

The conference continues to grow year-on-year, and now combines a full-day conference with a 20-stand exhibition, a conference dinner and a shopping centre study tour.

Journalist and broadcaster Adam Shaw was keynote speaker, giving an overview of the current state of the economic recovery before staying on to act as conference facilitator for the rest of the day.

After a busy programme of presentations covering key issues facing centre managers like commercialisation, tenant mix, landlord & tenant relations and customer engagement, the day ended with a black tie dinner hosted by comedian Romesh Ranganathan.

Thanks are due to all the delegates who attended, to the speakers for putting so much work into their presentations and to the sponsors without whom the conference could not take place.

For further information on the discussions held at the conference, see our reports from the seminars...

THE REASON WHY - Conference host and keynote speaker, multi-award winning broadcaster and journalist Adam Shaw, kicked off proceedings with his fascinating and often humorous insight into how robust the much vaunted ‘economic recovery’ really is.

THE THREE C's - NewRiver Retail director Nick Sewell and James Hamilton, head of UK acquisitions & estates at Costa Coffee, took to the stage to discuss the evolving retail landscape; balancing the three Cs – community, commodity, convenience; and how shopping centres and their teams can work in partnership to redefine and regenerate the high street for the benefit of all stakeholders – not just the consumer.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT - Markets are staging a comeback as shopping centres once again come to appreciate the vibrancy and sense of theatre that a well-run market can bring, the conference heard from John Shepherd, managing director of Shepherd’s Markets.

SKILLS, TRENDS AND NEEDS - Lunson Mitchenall chairman, Marcus Kilby, gave an overview of Retail Path, a national apprenticeship scheme launched by the BCSC Educational Trust - in partnership with the National Skills Academy for Retail - in December 2013.

ENGAGEMENT IS THE KEY - Enda McShane, chief executive of Velocity Worldwide, rounded off the conference with a powerful presentation on customer engagement in the digital age. His first point was that digital marketing was still marketing, and the same fundamentals apply. “Technology isn’t the solution – it’s just the vehicle. So sell the why not the what,” he reminded delegates.

GO SOCIAL - Chair of the BCSC Purple Apple Task Force and director at The Bee Group, Deborah Owen-Ellis Clark, described new training and development activities aimed to help raise marketing standards.

SCEPTRE WINNERS - The first panel debate of the day focused on tenant relationships and ‘managing change’ and featured four SCEPTRE 2013 award winners – Amy Hodges, senior marketing manager at JLL; Pavilion Swords centre director Ian Hunter; Medi Parry, Sanderson Arcade’s centre manager; and Sally Sookia, associate director, retail marketing at JLL.

GOING BEYOND THE RMU - Four leading commercialisation experts put down a powerful marker for landlords to place non-rental income at the core of their asset management strategies in a conference panel session.

IN SEARCH OF CUSTOMER VALUE - Mark Bradley, director of The Fan Experience Company, specialises in measuring customer perceptions. He was brought in by the Football League in 2006 to devise ways of bringing families back into football grounds, and he has gone on to work with racing, cricket and rugby league venues.

FUTURE PROOFING - Chairman of the BCSC Customer Experience Committee, Andrew McMillan, gave an introduction to the evening’s ACE Awards and described how bench-marking customer service can help centres to attract both investors and retailers.


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