Shades of Mark Twain. The reported death of shopping centres is, somewhat, premature.

It’s a catch-all, generalised statement that is selectively true in small parts. Perhaps the premise (orientation?) of the statement is questionable.

Rather, we have entered an era in which the rebirth of shopping centres is self-evident, and growing.

Allocated capital expenditure totals are impressive. External upgrades and remodelling of tenancy mixes are only parts of the total story.


It is inevitable that the sprawling metropolitan areas of Australian cities will be subjected to redevelopment, centred on increased density. Infrastructure, mass public transport in particular, will be a pillar of the new concepts and planning visions.

Therefore, one can confidently project the construction of multi-storey, integrated complexes with the lower floors being occupied by retail outlets complemented by commercial tenancies on the first or second floors, and the higher premises being residential.

That’s right, primary, target audiences will be living and working on-site. Retail tenancy mixes will be refined to include alfresco dining, complementing existing fast service food halls.

Service precincts, featuring health, insurance and business support facilities will become commonplace.

Our mobile society will be acknowledged, with the introduction of new motor vehicle dealerships, finance agencies and yes, collection points for goods, services and applications which have been purchased on-line. Click and collect, together with multi-channel marketing will be alive, well and operating in a shopping centre near you.

Indeed, many of the transactions undertaken in bricks and mortar premises will be concluded, and paid for, on-line. Alas, the buying, delivery, possession and utilisation phases of the purchase process will be delineated, differentiated and integrated.

Progression from convenience to access will be part of the transformation.


Many public statements about the shopping experience are, in reality, shallow references about enhanced ambiences. Few detail, or give extended consideration to engagement with and by the customers.

Most important will be the need for, a character of a seamless experience. In short, there should be no boundaries.

Integration will be fundamental. Shopping centre lessors and managing agents will need to be true collaborators (read: strategic alliance partners) with retailers. That will include a remodelling of tenancy, and rental agreements. Mutual respect, benefits and rewards will be the essence of sustainable relationships.

Doubtless, some agreements will founder.


Personalisation and differentiation will, in the near, intermediate and longer terms become virtues.

Commoditisation, evident in almost identical tenancy mixes between larger shopping centres, will impinge on development and consumer loyalty, ultimately leading to the demise of an increasing number of tier 2-sized complexes.

Rebirthing is an exciting prospect – for shopping centre owners, managing agents, retailers and consumers.

Barry Urquhart

Facilitator – Strategic Planning Workshops

Marketing Focus

M:        041 983 5555

T:         9257 1777