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edition 7 (232)
July 2018
Retail & leisure

Children in the shopping spotlight

Aneta Cichla

Children in the shopping spotlight
Klaudia Sionek, an analyst at Colliers International
POLAND Rooms for parents with children, public playgrounds and a specially tailored range of services – this is now becoming the norm for most Polish shopping centres, according to the third ‘Child-Friendly Shopping Centres’ [‘Centra Przyjazne Dzieciom’] report by Colliers International, the Polish Council of Shopping Centers [PRCH] and research company Ariadna.

The study covered the eight largest retail markets in Poland and involved visits to and surveys of 90 shopping centres of more than 20,000 sqm and a minimum of 60 units each – a total of ​​4.1 mln sqm of retail space. The questionnaire prepared by Ariadna was completed by 1,000 residents across Poland in selected urban centres who have children of up to twelve years of age and who regularly visit shopping centres.

According to the experts

Colliers International visited 90 shopping centres to scrutinise their facilities for children. “Parents are becoming much more aware as consumers – in choosing a centre, they pay attention not only to the quality of the infrastructure and security, but also to its overall convenience and accessibility. Thus in retail buildings throughout the country there are now more and more facilities available for such people and for the youngest of visitors. Such ideas and non-standard approaches are important as well as an understanding of the needs of parents and children. The modern shopping centre should provide entertainment and other attractions while being both friendly and comfortable. Carers want to be sure that their children will not only have fun but most of all that they will be safe,” says Klaudia Sionek, an analyst at Colliers International. In Warsaw and its surrounding area, a total of 18 retail buildings were visited. The three top malls in Warsaw in the Ariadna consumer survey are: Arkadia (owned by: Unibail-Rodamco), Złote Tarasy and Wola Park (owned by: Ikea Centres). In the TriCity eleven malls were rated. Galeria Bałtycka (ECE Projektmanagement Polska) is the best according to parents. It is followed by Riviera in Gdynia (Union Investment Real Estate)) and Auchan Gdańsk (Immochan). Special attention was paid to the provision of wristbands for children, such as can be found in the Riviera centre. Nine buildings were surveyed in Kraków. Some offered unusual attractions: a free cinema or theatre and video game rental with on-site game consoles. However, only a few Kraków malls have catering zones ideal for families with children. Galeria Kazimierz (Invesco Real Estate), however, is a notable exception to this. The most child-friendly malls for shoppers are Galeria Krakowska (ECE Projektmanagement Polska) and Bonarka City Center (NEPI Rockcastle). Seven malls were looked at in Łódź. Manufaktura provides the most entertainment (Union Investment Real Estate), followed by Port Łódź (Ikea Centres), which features Port Łódź Junior – a free playground with child care services provided. Third position goes to Galeria Łódzka (ECE Projektmanagement Polska). In Wrocław eleven centres were examined. According to those surveyed, Magnolia Park (Union Investment Real Estate) and Aleja Bielany (Ikea Centres) merited distinctions for having miniature train rides, indoor and outdoor children’s squares as well as free resting zones. Pasaż Grunwaldzki was another that earned plaudits (EPP). Twelve buildings were visited in Poznań, where most of the malls offer a wide range of facilities and attractions for families with children, but there are also centres in the city that differ greatly from their child-friendly counterparts. According to those surveyed, the best shopping centres in the city are Posnania (Apsys Polska), Galeria Malta (Neinver) and Poznań Plaza (Klépierre). In Szczecin five shopping centres were visited. According to the survey, the best are Galaxy (EPP) and Kaskada (ECE Projektmanagement Polska). No third place was awarded due to the discrepancies in the results. Szczecin shopping centres are generally quite well prepared for visits by families with children. The analysts pointed out that the managers of malls in the city should focus on improving the safety of children and addressing the lack of family friendly catering zones. There are 17 shopping centres in Silesia. According to the respondents, the best centres for families with children are: Silesia City Center (ECE Projektmanagement Polska), Galeria Katowicka (Kwasa Europe) and 3 Stawy (Union Investment Real Estate). According to the analysts, Agora Bytom (Borgestad ASA) deserves praise for its climbing wall for children (which, however, is not free) as well as Gemini Park Tychy (Gemini Holding) for organising events for children, such as a recent exhibition of exotic animals that was held in the centre.

According to the managers

Shopping centre managers were also surveyed by the Polish Council of Shopping Centers. The study reveals owners and managers are watching the market closely following the latest trends and are more able to respond to them. They organise events for children, such as children’s entertainers, exhibitions and themed workshops. They also prioritise younger visitors when adapting their centres, providing suitable toilets, improving the quality of parent-child rooms, providing public areas for children, making changes to the catering zones, introducing effective signage throughout the building and ensuring that the security is up to scratch.

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