Forum Nová Karolina
Forum Nová Karolina, the dominant 58,000 sq m fashion and leisure shopping centre in Ostrava, celebrated its fifth birthday in March 2017.
The centre’s sales and footfall grew on average by 10–15% year on year between 2012 and 2016.
Lenka Matthews, Leasing Director at ARAM commented: “2016 was an exceptionally rewarding year, we worked hard to create an ever-evolving tenant mix. The value of deal transactions completed at Forum Nová Karolina shows that the Czech retail market has benefitted from economic growth and total renewals over the last 18 months show retailer confidence in the concept”.
Looking ahead at the rest of 2017, the leasing strategy continues to work closely with local and international brands that would like to enter or expand on the Czech market. The concept aims is to improve the food and leisure offer.
The leasing team led by Lenka Matthews started working on this project back in February 2015. The objectives were: 100% occupancy, new brands, replacement of non-performing retailers and renegotiation of 138 lease agreements expiring in March 2017.
18 months later, by the end of 2016:
100 renewals signed
20 new brands launched
How did we do it?
First of all, we carefully analysed the lease terms and performance of all retailers, the tenant mix and customer feedback.
“I am convinced that leasing has been and will continue to be a key aspect that shapes shopping centres in each phase of their existence. Since 2008, when the market was affected by the financial crisis, the role of leasing has become more significant, in the case of new development, but primarily for the existing centres, which are dealing with new trends, retail formats and changing customer preferences.
Leasing is much more dynamic compared to the past.
In all the centres we manage, the foundation is a well-prepared strategy that reflects the centre’s needs and parameters, the owner’s plans and, last but not least, the specifics of the region and customer needs. The composition of concepts, their proper location in the centre, mutual synergies, professional contracting and development of long-term quality relationships, including day-to-day work and communication with the tenants – all that is the foundation for success,” commented Lenka Matthews on the role of leasing in the shopping centre lifecycle.
In response to customer demand, we expanded the best performing brands: Lindex, Terranova, Manufaktura, Pandora and Apple.
Numerous new brands opened in the past 18 months, such as Gate, Baťa, 4F, and Columbia, which have improved and extended the fashion/sport fashion offer.
Rossmann, Dermacol, mBank or Dates Mobile in the health&beauty and services segments. We also launched luxury fashion retailers to the centre/Ostrava´ s region, including the British brand Barbour or the Czech Park Avenue.
New Store – Park Avenue
New Store – Barbour
Forum Nová Karolina has the highest share of food-court tenants in the region, often with exceptional formats. As a result, the centre’s footfall and revenues have increased steadily (by 10% per year on average) and there were over 9 million visitors last year.
Successful operation is also due to unique leisure-time concepts that are of great interest to visitors. They include the JATOMI fitness center and the CinemaCity cinema.
The leasing strategy included modernisation and expansion of the food-court with new concepts and operators. The area designated for food & beverages expanded by about 25% y/y.
Lenka Matthews highlights growing customer demands. Even the customers looking for classic fast food demand higher-quality concepts and environment: from equipment, furniture and lighting to accessories and greenery. High focus on cleaning and a wide offer for vegetarians, vegans or celiacs are matters of course.
“Despite the fact that we have the best food-court in the region, we are constantly working on improving and expanding it. But it is a long-term process for several reasons, including financial demands of food concepts, units and quality, and friendly customer service. These are some of the main reasons why there is a lack of quality concepts on the Czech market compared to Western Europe and there is still space for new players or the creation of original Czech food concepts, ” adds Lenka Matthews.
The greatest attention last year was paid to new UGO Salaterie, which presented an entirely new concept on an area of 328 m2. This is a pilot project of the concept.
New Concept – UGO Satalerie
They said about us
“Since opening in August 2016 we have had a phenomenal response from our customers. We have consistently grown in footfall over the past 6 months, and this store is without doubt one of the best performers within our portfolio.”
Alena Hegner, Head of Marketing at UGO Salaterie
“We initially had our brand Gant in the centre, which has generated high sales and footfall since 2012. The brand has performed so well and built up such a loyal following in Forum Nová Karolina that we are now introducing Barbour in the centre. We are very confident of the shopping centre and look forward to what the next five years will bring.”
Aneta Hoffman, PR director at Vermont Group