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JLL Retail Research have looked at emerging population and shopper trends and set out for the Retail Management team a set of resilience attributes needed for successful out of town trading.Urbanisation and population growthThe world’s population is forecast to explode to 11 billion over the next 80 years with most people living in cities. We’ll see a huge growth of the middle class - predicted to grow to 4.9 billion by 2030, equal to 60% of the world’s population. For retail that means a huge boom in consumer spending power. Retailers will increasingly target their expansion strategies on top-tier cities and we’ll continue to see them reducing portfolio sizes and store size. Investors will increasingly seek urban, mixed-use schemes with future-proofed qualities.Time is the new commodityRetailers are competing for consumers’ time as much as their money. Shoppers want to do other things at the same time. They are increasingly looking for convenience offers plus entertainment options tied with shopping, be it a cinema, bowling, ice rink, trampoline park or performing arts.It’s the strength of a top tier park’s catering, leisure and entertainment offer that now differentiates it - and it would be easy to get left behind the competition.The good news is physical space will continue to be as important as it always has been but it will be used in different, more enriched ways. Going forward we’ll see more services operators introduced to parks including shoe repairs, key cutting, dry cleaning, car servicing, even large drum launderette pods especially in student towns and cities.Facilities will be improved to enhance dwell time including modern toilets, baby changing facilities, seats and benches.F&B will improve in quality and offer will new pods and pop ups.Click & collect in store and changing room pods are examples of how retailers are making the shopping experience more convenient. Drive through collections points are particularly suited to out of town locations.ConnectivityEase of access, circulation and egress are vital. The main strengths of an OOT park are around accessibility and convenience and the provision of a stress-free, congestion free and cost effective shopping trip. So if it takes an age to get on, find a space or get off a park, shoppers are unlikely to return.Conversely car usage is expected to decline in future, particularly in our overcrowded cities and amongst younger, more environmentally aware generations. Between 1992 and 2011 the proportion of 17-to-20-year-olds holding a driving licence fell from 48% to 35%. Parks are overly reliant on car-borne trade and this could leave them potentially vulnerable in future. Parks that already benefit from strong public transport links will have real competitive advantage.Experiential and Quality EnvironmentThis is about providing ‘experience’ retailing, creating the wow factor people seem to want these days. Landlords need to be aware of the need to improve the overall customer experience and the built environment. It won’t be enough just to have a line up of shops with shabby common parts. JLL are encouraging Landlords and their retailers to run planned maintenance programmes and allow proportional increase in service charge levels if required to ensure we provide stimulating, attractive environments, incorporating a top quality F & B offer plus varied entertainment offers.FlexibilityThe flexibility of available space will support retailers provide modern offers, allowing changing store formats and the introduction of technology to provide online experiences in-store. Landlords need to keep parks relevant to modern retailing and evolving customer requirements. They’ll need to be proactive and flexible in terms of spaces and leases to enable up-to-date retailing & infilling with complementary offers.JLL Retail Management partner with design consultancies on retail design delivery, looking at the quality of store fit outs, updating store fronts, fascia signage and lighting. And we as managing agents need to be aware of new technologies that help improve the customer service.SustainabilitySustainability is clearly important to owners and investors and a number of our clients are leading the field. For JLL’s retail parks we’re looking at LED lights and split supplies, smart meters, greener waste programmes, green travel plans, biodiversity, and electric car charging.
You can read comments from Ros Oxley in a wider feature article in Property Week here
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