Intu outlines plan to attract more tenants, online brands with special initiatives
Shopping centre owner Intu has decided to add four heads of partnerships to its corporate structure to bolster relations with existing and new tenants across its portfolio.
And a key new initiative is the creation of a store dedicated to fast-growing online fashion labels. Fashion House will launch at Intu Lakeside later this year, bringing together nine digital brands. The 8,500 sq ft store will feature a catwalk, new retail tech including a selfie mirror and a VIP personal stylist service. Whyte Studio, Alice’s Lips, and Gina Bacconi have already signed up.
The venture introduces a new model for Intu, and sets out a new path for growth as more space becomes available. The shopping centre operator will manage the store, including staffing, store fit out and experiential elements, while online brands benefit from a flexible lease and the opportunity to make their first move into bricks-and-mortar..
“This is a great and unique way for disruptive fashion brands to expand into bricks-and-mortar at minimal risk whilst also delivering key elements of our strategy to sharpen our focus on our customers and transform our centres,” customer performance director Rebecca Ryman explained.
“Intu gets to showcase new brands with strong social media followings and brand ambassadors, bringing more of the next generation of fashion-conscious shoppers to Intu Lakeside.”
Fashion House is not Intu’s first direct retailing project; it follows the launch of a coffee shop promoting local businesses at Intu Broadmarsh in 2019.
Meanwhile former House of Fraser retail operations director Sally Haskayne has been appointed as head of fashion partnerships, Bruce Gardner will focus on strengthening relationships with consumer goods brands, and Christopher Baker has become head of lifestyle partnerships.
Finally, Nick Round has moved over from Intu’s asset management team to take on the role of head of food, beverage and leisure partnerships.
The appointments will be within the recently created customer performance directorate, which aims to drive the performance of rent-paying customers and attract more of those online brands.
Rebecca Ryman said: “We have built a team of sector specialists who will drive more value for our rent-paying customers and attract new brands to our centres for the first time. We will work closely with brands to develop and share new insight, products and services that will ensure their Intu locations are their most successful.
“Get it right and we all succeed, with thriving destinations that continue to attract visitors and encouraging spend.”
The directorate is thinking of multiple ways to attract online brands to its centres, at a time when national chains including House of Fraser, Debenhams and Marks & Spencer pull out of some sites.
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