In continuation of the previous newsletter, we are publishing the second part of the interview dedicated to the “Les Allées Shopping” concept. Questions to Gérard Solas, CEO of SODEC Real Estate and Olivier Valot, Sales Director at SODEC.
Q. With this concept, in what ways are you meeting shoppers’ needs?
G. SOLAS: We have to get back in touch with consumers, who have the feeling that retail has lost its soul. Today, shopping is meant to be experienced as a pleasant stroll, and not as a chore. As well, consumer habits have changed. They frequent both exclusive upscale shops and stores that offer more attractive prices. Les Allées brings together these different worlds in a shopping center unlike any other. Finally, shoppers have to feel safe, and that they are in a haven of well-being where they have access to all the leisure activities they want and services that make their lives easier. Les Allées Shopping meets all of these needs.
O. VALOT : Bayonne and the southern part of Landes are seeing very strong demographic and economic growth. Newcomers are looking for a lifestyle that is synonymous with quality and comfort. For them, shopping is a way to build social relationships. This major factor requires shopping centres to dramatically extend their range of services and leisure activities. They are becoming safe, pleasant places to spend time where entertainment, restaurants and sports activities are an integral part of the shopping experience.
Q. How can the overall atmosphere at Les Allées Shopping impact sales performance?
G.S. : Everything has been designed to make shopping comfortable and fun. The charm takes hold even before you enter the mall. As soon as they arrive near Les Allées Shopping, visitors are pleasantly surprised by the scale of the landscaped areas and how perfectly the architecture has been incorporated into the natural surroundings. It gives them a foretaste of the pleasure that awaits inside. When walking through the alleys, shoppers are won over by the original design of the spaces and their freedom to use the mall at their own pace.
O.V. : In terms of traffic, we have two main objectives: adapting to everyone’s needs and making our clientele loyal. How? The range of shops on offer meets the needs and desires of a mainly female clientele. Indeed, we know that female consumers are the ones who buy things for their family: for themselves, their children and very often for their husband or partner. We are also targeting senior citizens, as they have strong buying power and a lot of free time. To make its clientele loyal, Les Allées Shopping is namely banking on an original design with a lot of personality that makes it both practical and different. It’s a far cry from the standard shopping mall, even though it has kept one key feature: the attractiveness and the repeat traffic generated by the hypermarket!
Q. Why bring together medium-sized stores and small shops in a single space?
G.S. : This is a first for a regional shopping mall! In a long, rectilinear avenue brightened by a skylight, shoppers will find a type of business that has until now been absent: medium-sized stores specialized in household equipment, decoration and personal goods. These stores are typically grouped together at retails parks on the outskirts of town or along highways. To accommodate them, we will be offering economic conditions (rents and other charges) identical to those at retail areas.
O.V. : A unique space that brings together all types of distribution formats on a single level offers many advantages. In addition to making the customer journey easier, it helps to avoid losing clientele, optimizes shopper traffic throughout all of the alleys and gives each of the stores greater visibility. Finally, beyond the mall’s functionality, its interior design, its integration in the surrounding environment and its remarkable architecture, what makes all the difference is the wide variety of ways the site can be used. With a design that offers stores, leisure activities, restaurants and places to meet up, there are a host of reasons to go to Les Allées Shopping. This diverse range of uses increases both the length of time that people stay at the mall and the amount of money they spend at all types of retailers.