Day out destinations
By Alex Barbany, managing director of intu Spain
intu owns many of the UK’s largest and most popular retail destinations with a growing presence in Spain. In the past five years, we have invested over €1.1 billion in acquiring Parque Principado (recently re-branded to intu Asturias), Puerto Venecia and Madrid Xanadú. Following these acquisitions, and in line with our business plan, we sold a 50% interest in each of the three assets to CPPIB (intu Asturias and Puerto Venecia) and THRE (Xanadú) retaining the other 50% and the asset management role.
Since our first steps into Spain, we have seen retail investment in the country rise a staggering 155% in 2014 to its highest since 2008. We have seen retail investment volumes hitting €2.5 billion per annum over the last three years.
From our experience in both the UK and Spain, we know that customers and retailers are looking for something different which goes beyond the traditional shopping centre offer. Our ambition is to own and manage some of the top retail and leisure destinations in Spain within the next decade, and we have already made great strides towards that with our three top ten retail and leisure destinations.
Further growth is likely to come through the development field, the first step on that journey being our shopping resort concept, intu Costal del Sol, in Torremolinos (Málaga). We are also working hard on the planning development of other projects, as well as unlocking new opportunities. In addition to this we have great enhancement plans for our existing assets some of which are just being completed like the transformation of the lower mall and the food court at intu Asturias.
The relationship between customers and retailers also continues to change. Online retailers are moving to the traditional bricks-and-mortar retail to capitalise on the synergies between the online and offline world. Companies want to know their customers better and are now venturing into omni-channel strategies in order to provide a personalised offer on and offline, as well as a consistent experience for their customers regardless of channel.
Our response to this changing environment goes beyond developing a solid digital infrastructure to connect with our customers before, during and after, a visit to our centres. At intu we are changing the status quo of the sector by redefining the role of traditional shopping centres to create shopping resorts that provide day out, family friendly, retail and leisure destinations, attracting people from further afield, and encouraging them to stay for longer. Ultimately, helping our retailers and operators flourish.
The increase of the amount of leisure we have in our resorts, combined with a dynamic, surprising and immersive public realm hosting a calendar of events, supported by an effective infrastructure, both physical and digital, is what enables us to create compelling destinations.
For us, every visit is a memory in the making and we’re committed to providing our customers moments of delight that leave them feeling happier after every visit and eager to come back for more great experiences.
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Alex Barbany managing director of intu’s Spanish business tells us more about the retail landscape and outlook in Spain