I have been asked whether I would like to take over the management of shopping streets in inner city areas. Some say that city centres are up and coming – others say that they are dying out because consumers prefer to do their shopping online or in shopping centres.
Of course, there is no doubt that well-structured city centres are very desirable and great places to spend time. Almost every large city has traditional shopping streets with a good shop mix and high customer frequency. However, there are also cities and towns where the shop owners have gone and now seem lifeless.
Reviving such inner city areas is almost as big a challenge as re-positioning Outlet Centres. This, even though retail locations in inner city areas work according to the same principles as Outlet Centres: you need clear positioning and market strategy, a good mix of brands, a high customer frequency, desirable businesses, easy access and – above all – sufficient parking spaces. It requires a lot of fine tuning to hit on the right mix and the right strategy. To do this, you need a manager in the driving seat who is supported by a powerful team, but who can ultimately make decisions independently.
There are barely any shopping streets which fulfil these conditions.
Because it is a public area, it is only natural that a lot of people want to have their say and participate in the decision. This can still lead to pleasing results. As for me, I am of the opinion that “too many cooks spoil the broth.” or too many investors with self-interest do not create the right balance for the good of the town and community, I prefer to concentrate on the area where I am most at home – Outlet Centres.