Retail is important to the economy and health of towns and cities – yet it’s changing. While the growth of online shopping is transforming the world’s largest retail markets, commercial centres still have a vital role to play as we move towards an experience economy.

The Changing Face of Retail

When today’s customers visit shopping centres, they are looking for experiences that go well beyond traditional retail. The convenience of online shopping is leading malls to move toward a new kind of leisure proposition. 

Shopping centres are becoming places where people go for a day out combining shopping with leisure, so they want more places to eat, drink and socialize. As a result, the percentage of food and beverage outlets is increasing. This new use of space means that structures and building services need to be adapted.

Shopping malls also need to offer constant novelty through changing mix of brands, food stops and organising different events. This means that another defining characteristic of future shopping destinations will be their flexibility. Spaces must be suitable to a multitude of uses. Public spaces between retail outlets are just as important, as they can bring more footfall to retailers. 

Retailers must also embrace the experience economy. In addition to selling their goods in store, they need to reinforce their brand and showcase their products to enhance their online sales.


Expertise Across the Full Project Cycle

We focus on our clients’ commercial and business requirements, helping to create inspirational and innovative environments to attract customers and encourage them to make our client’s shopping venue their first choice. 

Our services span the full project life cycle, from preliminary concept and master planning to design, implementation and aftercare. We are recognised experts in the asset management of existing malls, food stores and retail parks. Through our property services, we deliver high- quality, high-performance environments that prioritise comfort, safety, and energy and resource efficiency. Through our transport expertise we ensure that the car park design and access enhance the arrivals experience.


Footfall Analysis for Decision Making

We help developers optimise their portfolios, by advising on footfall, rental values, energy-saving strategies, and crafting maintenance contracts.

The traditional rental model for shopping centres was based on turnover, but today’s customers are more likely to browse before taking advantage of competitive prices online. Even though volumes of people might be going up, revenues in shops are falling.

To help developers understand how people move around their shopping centres, we have developed a model to study footfall. We help developers to decide what they need to do to get the right footfall in the right places. Through big data analysis it is possible to assign a value to the time spent by customers in the mall or in a single store and, from that value, calculate the rent of a commercial property. Ultimately, good design is all about how to get maximum footfall in maximum areas to allow the retailers to maximise their potential and our clients to optimise rent.

This real-life occupancy data also helps us to design better buildings for our clients. For example, we can use the data to decide that, since the occupancy peaks of a shopping mall in a hot climate are not occurring at the hottest part of the day, an expensive high-capacity chiller would not be required.


Energy-Efficient Solutions for Retail

Retail spaces consume a lot of energy and with climate change challenges and new energy regulations coming in, developers are re-evaluating their portfolios. Our environmental, building services and utilities teams work closely together to ensure that existing shopping centres are meeting the standards as well as making important energy savings.


Creating Retail Experiences

Our experience designing mixed use retail-led urban regeneration developments tells us that retail destinations are a place for the community to come together. Customer experience is the key to ensuring people stay longer and return time after time.

A major part of the shopping experience is easy access. This relates to the amount of traffic, ease of car parking, ease of getting in and out, public transport options and the ‘feel’ of the space.

Our traffic and transport services help to make schemes accessible to the communities they serve, as well as support planning approvals. We also provide infrastructure design to support efficient car parking, freight and service yard logistics and local road improvements, coupled with the utilities services necessary to support our client’s retail scheme.


Adding Value to the Bottom Line

Our long experience in retail gives us unique and in-depth understanding of the intricate nature of each project. Whether a project includes an individual store or a new shopping mall, the refurbishment of a supermarket chain or an entire retail-led urban regeneration scheme, we help our clients to satisfy their customers and add value to their bottom line.