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News Release


Mixing food with fashion boosts retail sales

Savvy landlords and retailers are capturing consumer dollars through a clever mix of fashion and food

​Prague, 7 December 2015 – When the new Mall of Scandinavia in Stockholm opened last month, thousands of customers flocked to the food court before setting foot in a store. Home to more than 20 restaurants, the Swedish mall reflects the on-going retail trend towards making shopping centres and other destinations, such as railway stations and airports, places where people want to spend time.

“Eating significantly extends the length of time customers stay at the shopping centre,” confirms Jonathan Doughty, head of JLL’s food consultancy business, Coverpoint. “When you do food well, you can double the amount of money spent per customer and from the perspective of landlords and developers that’s very important.”

Research shows that consumers who eat during a shopping centre visit spend 18 per cent more and, on average, remain in the mall for an additional 27 minutes*.

The trend for food ‘gourmetisation’ and a quest for new experiences is credited with the rise of food and beverage (F&B) in retail. “The larger share of F&B concepts in shopping centres is closely related to the ever growing interest of people in the quality and variety of their food. This helps local concepts such as Sklizeno, Delmart and My Food Market. Sklizeno, for example, already has eighteen shops across the Czech Republic and has recently opened its first restaurant called Food Lovers in Campus Square shopping centre in Brno,” comments Kateřina Široká, Senior Retail Consultant at JLL, on the situation in the Czech Republic.

“And there are other popular food operators who understand this trend and have started to develop their own bistro-style restaurants. Frutisimo or the Kofola owned UGO fresh bar chains represent the best examples. Frutisimo has begun to open its bistro-cafés called Home Office Bistro; Kofola opened its first restaurant Nagrilu in Jindřišská street in Prague’s city centre in August,” continues Kateřina Široká.

Part of the mall master-plan
Simply, success hinges on more than offering burgers and coffee. Providing the food customers want is crucial and mall offerings have changed beyond recognition. At the Mall of Scandinavia, shoppers can choose from everything from juice bars to fine dining restaurants. “In the old days, especially at shopping centres in town, customers might leave to get their food – and sometimes they wouldn’t come back,” Doughty adds. “Now food doesn’t just hold them in a retail space. It looks after them and satisfies their needs.”

To this end, food is increasingly becoming part of the master-plan for a shopping centre. Food and beverage consultants look carefully at what sort of customers a shopping centre hopes to attract. Food retailers are then selected to satisfy this demand.

While centrally situated food courts were the retail F&B model of the nineties, shopping centres now mix this with outlets spread throughout the centre. This caters to customers who want a short-stop coffee and those who prefer a sit down meal. And while national and international fast food brands are important – burgers and sandwich shops are still mall mainstays – centres are responding to the trend for more authentic food. Prioritising provenance and the quality of ingredients has opened up opportunities for smaller scale local and regional operators in many European shopping centres.

This does not only apply to shopping centres. “Another related trend can be seen with retailers introducing a refreshments offer into their shops. Such an example from abroad is Rapha, with their high-end biking equipment shops in London, New York and Sydney, which offer its customers coffee and bakery products. In Jungmanovo square in Prague, a new shop of the designer furniture company KARE has opened with a part of the premises being used as a bistro “KARE café”. This shows that retailers are aware of the “gourmetisation” trend and are looking for ways to bring added value and experience to their customers,” concludes Kateřina Široká.

Food doesn’t just boost retail sales, however. It can turn a mall into a food destination in its own right – and this too, means money. Dwell time is the difference between retail success and failure and this new gastronomic force should offer mall owners, investors and retailers food for thought.

*figures supplied by Coniq