Union finds the perfect tenants for Klanderij-Twentec through data analysis
July 12, 2023
Covering 30,000 square metres and housing 60 retailers, Klanderij-Twentec is the biggest shopping mall in Enschede. You can come here for virtually everything: from the major fashion brands to small, artisanal boutiques. The shopping mall – proudly owned by Union Investment Real Estate GmbH – is fighting a constant battle with online shops, and it suffered badly during the corona crisis. Falling visitor numbers are bad news, because that makes it more difficult to find tenants. To tackle that problem, Union has been working closely with CBRE since 2019.
The corona crisis hit the retail industry extremely hard, and Klanderij-Twentec didn’t manage to escape unharmed. Lars Möller, Asset Manager for Union Investment, explains: ‘The lockdowns and forced closures weighed heavily on many retailers. That’s water under the bridge, but now we’re facing sharply increasing inflation, rents, energy prices and wages. And all of this while retailers have only just recovered from the effects of the pandemic.’
What does this mean for Klanderij-Twentec? ‘That it’s sometimes difficult to find tenants. Particularly for retail premises in the shopping centre, inside the mall where they are not as visible to customers as high street shop fronts. We were confronted with this even before the corona crisis, because the bricks-and-mortar retail industry is complex and embroiled in fierce competition with online shops. Webshops profited hugely during the pandemic: people preferred to shop from home, or had no choice. So visitor numbers have to go up again – that is our biggest challenge. We entered into a partnership with CBRE in 2019 partly because of this. They help us with our management, marketing and leasing issues.’
A lid for every pot
Lars: ‘If you are managing a shopping centre looking for new tenants, you have to know your target audience. As a leasing advisor, CBRE gives us that insight using a special, data-driven approach. Based on this, we are hoping to cater more effectively for the needs of our visitors. By being well informed and tracking customer movements, you can find the right tenant for the right place. CBRE is helping us to achieve that, by relying: on their international network as well as their knowledge of the local markets and insight. We can target our search for tenants much more effectively with their advice, which is invaluable.’
The importance of data
Gareth Tsang, Director of Retail at CBRE, emphasises the role that data plays at Klanderij-Twentec: ‘As a result, we have a far more accurate idea of where and when it will be busy. Take Calibrate, for instance: it’s a CBRE tool that collects and processes GPS data from mobile phones. We can use it to see where people are coming from, which demographic they belong to and what their income is. Don’t be alarmed: all the information is anonymous. It gives us a clear picture of the visitors, and the kinds of shops they are looking for. For example, there’s no point in building luxury department stores if the average income of the visitors is below average.’
Lars: ‘Because Enschede is so close to the border, we get lots of German tourists. During the pandemic those tourists had to stay away, so now it is very important for us to recapture this important segment of our target demographic.’
Figures and words
Each quarter, Union gets sent a report about how the shopping centre is doing, and what’s going on in the market. Lars: ‘They really are our eyes and ears on site. Thanks to all the information they gather, we are in a position to make informed decisions. So yes, you could say our partnership is mainly data-driven – but it doesn’t feel that way. It is a close, personal collaboration. We talk just about every day, and I don’t mean using spreadsheets. We are confident that this relationship is only set to get better in the years to come.’
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