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News Release


The role of entertainment in modern shopping centres

Authors: Dominic Bouvet, Director, EMEA Retail & Leisure Agency JLL and Edyta Potera, National Director, Retail Agency, JLL Poland

What changes in the leisure area can be witnessed in shopping centres on other markets, including those in Europe?

The main change that we are observing on both European and global markets is the increase of investments with numerous entertainment formats. Owners of shopping centres attract new customers and struggle to extend the time spent by them in these locations. This is why shopping centres continue to become destinations which not only offer a wide range of shops but activities as well, allowing consumers to spend their entire day there. A perfect example of this is Madrid Xanadu in Spain which offers, apart from 250 stores, the SnowZone – a skiing area for skiers and snowboarders, a cinema with 15 screens, a bowling alley, a cart track, an entertainment park for children and a mini-golf course. Another example is the Mall of Emirates in Dubai which also includes a ski slope, zoo with penguins, a theatre, a film studio, a gallery of light, a dance school and 18 halls used for a wide range of art workshops as well as the Magic Planet entertainment park for children. Another example of a uniquely developed sports and entertainment offer is West Edmonton Mall in Canada. It offers Galaxyland amusement park, an enormous water park, an ice rink, a golf course, The Santa Maria ship, or a maze-like hall of mirrors. Of course, these examples are rather "extreme" but clearly indicate a direction taken by some shopping centre owners.

Other examples of changes in the leisure offer are also very interesting and include trampoline parks, and 'urban golf' - an area with computer games that imitate real-life golf or theme parks. Some shopping centre owners focus on outdoor activities. As a result, skate parks and entertainment parks for children are developed in areas adjacent to shopping centres. In Turkey, traditional bazaars are re-located into shopping centres and, as a result, residents spend much of their time walking and talking while they peruse the stalls. In many countries, much focus is now put on the development of entertainment and educational propositions. The best example here is KidZania which occupies 8,000 sq m in the Westfield shopping centre in London. It is a completely innovative concept that enables children between 4 and 12 years of age to play the role of a real-life firefighter, policeman, journalist or shop keeper. KidZania is a village with real streets, buildings, pavements, vehicles, functional shops, restaurants, a hospital, a fire station, a TV and radio station, pizzerias, a beauty parlor, a bank, a supermarket and theatre. Children can choose from among 100 different roles ranging from dentists to restauranteurs. This incredible concept combines games with education. Of course, while the children are in KidZania, their parents can take their time shopping.

What factors currently influence new leisure space in shopping centres?

The main factors that influence the decision to introduce or develop an entertainment proposition include the changing lifestyle of consumers, increasing market competition, the development of e-commerce and a desire to reach new target groups and extend the time spent by clients in the shopping centre. Retail schemes throughout the world must offer more and more attractions in order to both entice new clients and retain existing ones. Most young people would rather spend their leisure time outdoors. This has resulted in the development of outdoor activities by utilizing smart land management in areas around shopping centres. Furthermore, the "casual dining" restaurant proposition is also important and is no longer limited to "fast food" chains but also includes different types of restaurants, bars, bakeries, confectioners, cafes and pubs.

Are those changes dictated by clients' expectations, competition or the development of e-commerce?

As mentioned before, these new strategies and concepts are dictated by changes in client expectations, growing competition, the need to modernize older shopping centres as well as the development of e-commerce.

So what's happening with shopping centres in Poland?

Over the last 20 years, the shopping centre market in Poland has evolved more dynamically than in any other part of Europe. The first generation of shopping centres was initially dominated by food operators. Over time, it experienced transformation as multi-storey projects were developed and the role of the shopping centre changed. The Polish market witnessed the debuts of new Polish and international brands. However, a mature market does not mean a lack of opportunity for further development of retail schemes. Now, shopping centres often undergo extensions, modernizations and remodeling while developers and owners continue to develop leisure amenities thereby making the schemes more attractive.

In a time of constant changes, newly-developed shopping centres must have a way to distinguish themselves from the competition - to make their mark. Retail offer can be so similar that in order to achieve market success, shopping centres should become more individualized and adjusted to the needs and profile of consumers in its catchment area. It is impossible to completely prevent the ubiquity of brands, however, if the project's offer is original (new brands on the Polish market, unique architectural elements, an extensive range of entertainment and restaurants, and taking on a city-shaping and community role) it has a better chance of attracting a larger and more loyal client base that will spend more time in the project.

We expect that new shopping projects will be developed with entertainment becoming even more involved. Moreover, shopping malls will continue to become meeting points, not only shopping destination. Currently, we are observing an evolution of retail schemes where children can play traditional games but also participate in modern forms of entertainment such as young talent development, educational areas, theatres etc. For every unique activity a shopping centre has to offer, the bigger its commercial advantage over the competition.

When can the owner either expand or create a leisure offer? Is it during modernization, extension or re-commercialization?

The owner of a shopping centre can create a range of leisure activities during re-modernization, extension or re-modeling combined with the re-commercialization process. The easiest way to create the leisure proposition is during an extension as everything can be planned from the beginning and different spaces can be adjusted to specific functions. Sometimes, owners of existing objects put a great deal of effort in order to make a shopping centre leisure offer more attractive. An example of this took place in Galeria Pomorska in Bydgoszcz where the re-modernization of the whole mezzanine was necessary in order to adjust the area to the needs of a multiplex.

Therefore, in order to name an object a 'shopping and entertainment centre' one should not only have a large multiplex in its proposition?

It all depends on the location of the centre and the entertainment proposition in the surrounding area. Sometimes the multiplex will be the main feature of the centre and it will attract a large number of visitors. In other cases, the proposition must be extensive in order for the scheme to be categorized as a 'shopping and entertainment centre'. Over the last 10 years, different types of entertainment have been tested in Poland and some of them, such as cinemas, games rooms for children and fitness clubs, are able to thrive while others, such as bowling alleys, have only gained popularity in some of the Polish regions.

Can you give some examples of leisure area transformations?

Good examples of extensive entertainment propositions in Poland are two centres in Poznań – Galeria Malta and Stary Browar, Manufaktura in Łódź and Blue City in Warsaw. Due to its unique location, Galeria Malta offers an entertainment area in the city centre including a wide range of restaurants that offer a view of Malta Lake and outdoor activities around the project including an artificial beach, streetball court and bike rental. Stary Browar includes an art gallery, cinema, theatre and hosts concerts and sports events. Manufaktura in Łódź has an extremely wide entertainment proposition including a museum, a theatre, a cinema, an art museum, language school, Jazda Park, Stratosfera, fitness centre, Laser Games arena, the Jupi game room and Egurrola Dance Studio. Another example is Blue City in Warsaw with an enormous Inca Play playground, Egurrola dance school, fitness club as well as oceanarium. In the future, it will also offer a multiplex.

What should a modern and innovative leisure concept look like?

As mentioned before, an entertainment proposition ought to be adjusted to the project's location, surrounding areas and tailored to the specific project and local clientele. Many shopping centres have begun and will begin to take on a city-shaping role. Amphitheaters, venues for meetings and sports fields will be developed in their vicinity as is the case in Skałka centre in Tychy.

What is a 'must have' in the entertainment offer?

'Must have' elements include an extensive range of restaurants and different forms of leisure activities for the whole family – be it cinemas, entertainment parks for children or sports amenities. 


Dominic Bouvet, Director, EMEA Retail & Leisure Agency, JLL

Edyta Potera, National Director, Retail Agency, JLL Poland