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Gci looks at real estate at 360 degrees

23 October, Mark Up

Gallerie Commerciali Italia (GCI) also plans to become the protagonist in catering in partnership with experts in the sector. The marketing activity is widening to other real estate segments too

Gci-Gallerie Commerciali Italia, the Italian branch of Immochan (Auchan Holding), plans investments for a gross value of 250 million euro by 2019 and to expand and renovate most of its shopping arcades all over Italy. Guided by Edoardo Favro since 2011, Gci operates in 48 shopping centres and 6 retail parks which altogether generate a turnover of about 180 million visitors every year.

How did the shopping centres marketing change?

I would sum it up with this phrase: “Client dictates and decides how a shopping centre should be”. Two good examples of this trend are the restyling of Bussolengo (Vr) and Fano (Pu): from the choice of the name (happened on Facebook) to the implementation of the facility. The renovation reflects the tastes and the needs of the customers engaged in the process. Nowadays, 30% of the visitors don’t go to shopping centres only for shopping, but also for leisure, entertainment and new experiences. Therefore, we’re trying the increase in the arcades the surface dedicated to lounge areas, events, and restaurants bringing them from 10% to 22% of the commercial surface.

Is the expansion in Pescara another “on demand “project?

In Cepagatti (Pe), the new Borgo D’Abruzzo will be a neighbourhood shopping centre, focused on groceries and services. We’ve invested again in Cepagattti after having listened to the needs of the community. From the survey, it has emerged how the shopping centre was beloved and visited for the daily food shopping and based on these results, we’ve reorganised the entire arcade. The new shopping centre in Fano will host a lot of fashion instead: it will be brought from 15,600 to 24,800 Sq m for an investment of 18 million euro.

What are the strategies regarding catering?

We’ve started from the difficulties of the market to differentiate the food offer and to involve local businesses with their innovative proposals, and we’ve chosen to become active protagonists with a project that transforms the food court from a service to an actual destination. We’ve developed the project in partnership with two operators specialised in catering: the first results are Mestre in September 2017 and Fano in October 2017.

Hence new experiences and services…

Nowadays services have a great importance: from the traditional ones, such as petrol stations, pharmacies, newsagents, kids’ playgrounds; to the more modern ones like lockers for the collection of online purchases, free wife, electric cars power stations, and services still not very widespread such as car sharing and carpooling, in the name of environmental sustainability, an essential element for the future of shopping centres. Marketing will be key for shopping centres, it will mostly be digital, operational, and it will be listening to customers. This is a new way of doing marketing, with a dense program of events (once connected only to festivities), that tries to meet clients’ desires.

Rescaldina is one of the most significant projects in terms of dimensions….

After 15 years from its opening, Rescaldina has undergone a profound requalification that will take place in several phases for a total investment of 100 million euro supported by Gci. The first phase has started with the restyling that will be mostly done during night-time to not interfere with the daily activities and it will last from 6 to 8 months. The second phase concerns the general expansion project which is still pending authorization. The Municipality of Rescaldina has approved the urban modification permitting the expansion of public green areas. In September/October 2017 the administrative procedure at the regional level will start. The expansion will be of 25,650 Sq m gross surface area and of 17,500 commercial Sq m. The parking lot will accommodate 4,300 parking spaces. We’ll have over 150 shops along with services, common areas for families and children, and obviously a new and more appealing catering offer.

There is then the developments in Sardinia…

Following the agreement with Immobiliare Europea, Gci is now the owner of 4 shopping centres in Sardinia, precisely in Olbia, Sassari Predda Niedda, Cagliari Marconi, and Cagliari Santa Gilla formerly managed on a lease expiring in three years. The new partnership sees from one side the remodelling of the centre in Olbia, Sassari and Santa Gilla, but more importantly, the renovation of the centre in Cagliari Marconi whose layout will be completely reviewed. The total investment amounts to approximately 50 million euro. In 2016, the Auchan arcades registered visits for 20 million and a turnover of over 230 million euro.

Restyling and expansions concern also the new retail offer…

For this purpose, I’d like to remind, besides Zodio and Arcaplant, the new Decathlon shop in the Auchan shopping centre in Porto Sant’Elpidio. We have then the Ikea pickup & order point in the Auchan centre in Roma Collatina. These are the example s of our commitment to finding unique solutions to innovate our shopping centres and make them more attractive.

Gci is developing a wider vision compared to the standard retail property market….

Gallerie Commerciali Italia will be increasingly involved in real estate and it will develop project not only in retail. We want to implement spaces where to live and for this purpose, we have a specific consulting activity, following the newly-born Res. Besides retail, there are houses and offices, with the intention to implement mixed projects. After the retail park of Turin and Mesagne, as well as the expansion of Città Fiera in Udine, the fourth mission for Res is to market I Portali in San Giovanni La Punta (Ct), adding a new property to its portfolio.

Source: Mark Up

Translator: Cristina Ambrosi

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