Market leading shopping centre owner intu reports it is anticipating a busy Christmas period and strong footfall. With two thirds of the UK population within 45 minutes’ drive of its 18 centres, the FTSE100 company said it is in a unique position to support retailers, restaurateurs and leisure operators and bring fun and festive cheer to its customers.
For the first time, intu is launching a nationwide marketing campaign – focused around the proposition of ‘Love Christmas even more’ – with broadcast, digital and print advertising and PR support. It will highlight the benefits of shopping at an intu centre such as extended opening hours, depth and breadth of choice and a wide range of attractions, events and experiences. The aim is to attract more footfall so that retailers and restaurants in over 2,500 outlets across the centres can flourish.
Trevor Pereira, commercial & digital director, said: “This year, intu wants its customers to fall in love with Christmas even more and we’re pulling out all the stops to make the magic of this time of the year come alive. We used customer opinions from Tell intu, the UK’s only national shopping centre customer feedback system, to ensure the festive period this year is extra special.”
intu, which owns more prime shopping centres in the UK than anyone else, has commissioned a group of six sector specialists – called the Christmasologists – who will share their expert advice through radio interviews, on-line vlogs and on social media using the #askintu hashtag. The experts cover technology, toys & games, beauty, fashion, homes & interiors and food & cookery, and will be directly driving sales for intu’s in-centre retailers.
“The inspiration for our Christmasologists comes from intu’s position as the first choice for so much of the UK population. Our 400 million customer visits per year and repeat visitor data show that shoppers see intu centres as destinations for top brands, places to socialise and locations to enjoy events with a difference. And at Christmas, these aspects are more important than ever,” said Pereira.
Along with the excitement of Christmas, intu is maintaining its lead in embracing consumer trends and understanding shoppers’ preferences. With customers’ shift to multi-channel shopping, including buying in-store on tablets and mobile devices, the free wifi and 4G within intu centres will be used by more people this Christmas than at any time previously. intu is creating the UK’s most digitally connected shopping centres giving customers a seamless online and offline experience.
And intu’s transactional website, intu.co.uk, is also set for Christmas with its 1.5m monthly visitors being able to shop at intu, 24/7. The site’s ‘Inspire Me’ section includes ‘how to’ videos (such as laying the perfect Christmas dinner table) and an easy-to-use gift guide. And with click-and-collect or home delivery options customers have choice as well as convenience.
Half the gift cards sold annually across the retail sector are issued during November and December. They are no longer seen as an unimaginative alternative to a Christmas present. With intu’s recently relaunched gift card, recipients are not limited to just one store or one type of product. Card users can choose from across the centres, from a meal out to cinema tickets, clothes to home furnishings. As a result, an intu gift card is now the imaginative option.
Pereira said: “Christmas is not only a time to shop. From school choirs to Santa’s grottos, character parades to ice-skating, charity gift wrappers to fun competitions, our centres will be buzzing and bustling with festive spirit and enchanted moments of surprise and delight for adults and children, alike.”
- Ratchet Clothing, created by 18-year old Dhillan Bhardwaj from Derbyshire, has opened a 1,300sq ft store at intu Lakeside. Famed for its signature tie-dye tees and statement street-wear, this is Ratchet’s first shopping centre store.