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edition 10 (224)
October 2017
Retail & leisure

The customer is king

Interviewer: Aneta Cichla

The customer is king
Ewa Spychalska, director, Galeria Malta

How has the retail situation in Poznań changed since the opening of the Posnania shopping centre – a close neighbour of Galeria Malta – almost a year ago?

Ewa Spychalska, director,Galeria Malta: Galeria Malta is well rooted on the Poznań retail scene. It has its loyal group of customers, who have a very high opinion of it. Customers appreciate the optimal size of the centre, which makes shopping convenient, without the effect of ‘tired legs’. They point to its unique location, the option of combining shopping and sport as well as the attractive range of brands. At the end of June the retail saturation amounted to 293 sqm per 1,000 people for the entire country [according to Colliers International – editor’s note]. But in Poznań the figure exceeded 832 sqm per 1,000 inhabitants. Of course, we all feel this. It is obvious that when the saturation is high you have to double your efforts to take care of your clients: the shoppers as well as the tenants.

Have you noticed any reduction in customers due to Posnania benefiting from its novelty?

This is a normal situation, although the effect has already run its course in the case of Posnania. We have to bear in mind that there are just as many people willing to shop in Poznań as last year. I would like to emphasise that everything depends on the care you take with the customers.

Has the value of an average transaction in Galeria Malta fallen?

No, it has not. The average transaction value has stayed the same. We have analysed the profile of the people who visit the centre and can see that those who spend the most here are our most loyal customers. We have also been seeing that the special attractions organised by us generate benefits. The footfall in shopping centres often depends on the gratification the customer can expect.

How do you maintain customer loyalty?

The summer in Galeria Malta was notable for our additional activities. Stand-up comedians entertained our customers in the chill-out zone, where large crowds gathered at each such event. Another scheme was ‘Be Fit Mom’, where professional trainers exercised together with young mums. Malta VIP Club is a proposal for customers interested in premium brands. Last autumn, during a sales promotion campaign we gave away PLN 1 mln to our customers for more shopping. A lottery held in May was a big success. It is worth pointing out that we are the only centre in the city to have a restaurant area overlooking Lake Malta, which is very popular with our customers. The entire second floor has been given over to sporting activities, entertainment and leisure time. Multikino, which is the cinema operator in the mall, is focused on a family repertoire, thanks to which it attracts this section of our target group. Our range also includes a large Go Sport shop, Jatomi Fitness, the largest squash club in Poznań and our group of tenants has recently been joined by the Poznań School of Acrobatics. We are also opening an Escape Room in September.

What kind of activities do you undertake with your tenants in mind?

We are in constant touch with them. We discuss their problems and cooperation possibilities. We try to involve them in our activities and to be flexible in our approach towards them. Our aim is to create a good atmosphere for operating business, particularly in the face of such strong competition.

Have many brands pulled their shops out of your centre due to the situation on the Poznań market?

Changes in the tenant mix take place for a variety of reasons. We have been working ceaselessly on the most ideal range of brands. We have recently added eight new tenants. These include: Lee Cooper, which joins Colorado Jeans, Cross Jeans and Tom Tailor in the same segment; multi-brand Anemone women’s clothing store; and a Chopstix restaurant has opened in the restaurant zone. We are also opening the only NeoNail salon in Poland in a store format. The Poznań School of Acrobatics and Książnica Polska have also leased space. And we have been very busy negotiating the lease of the former Marks & Spencer store.

Will Galeria Malta be enlarged?

We are working on new projects for the centre, but for now, I don’t want to go into any details.

In 2013 there was some talk about an 11,000 sqm extension to mall and the addition of 30 stores...

We considered a few different ways forward. However, our operations will now be focused on modernisation in the future. We have recently made some changes to the car park, which we are finishing this autumn. So we have not given up on our investment plans. We are now working on the budget and carefully planning our activities for 2018.

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