After the launch of stage one late last year, Tauranga Crossing’s executive team has assembled a team of retail development specialists with strong experience in the development of shopping centres in New Zealand to bring stage two to life.
The next stage of development will include 18,000sqm of additional lettable area, taking the total to 35,000sqm for the combined stages of redevelopment, as well as a new entertainment precinct, anchored by an Event Cinemas six screen complex, which will include a V-Max theatre, the first of its kind in the region.
A food precinct with approximately 15 restaurants and food eateries will be joined by 80 other fashion, apparel and general merchandise retailers to take the total number of stores in the centre (Stages one and two) to over 110 with a comprehensive list of retailers.
After completion of stage two, an additional two hectares of adjacent land will be available for future development.
Inside Retail spoke with Steve Lewis, Tauranga Crossing CEO, to find out more about plans for the retail centre in the North Island.
Inside Retail: How have customers responded to stage one?
Steve Lewis: Stage one of Tauranga Crossing Shopping Centre opened in late 2016 and has exceeded expectations. Customers are very enthusiastic about the centre, and we are seeing growing visitation and retailer sales. The combination of the Pak N ‘Save supermarket, The Warehouse and Noel Leeming is proving to be attractive for the local customer base.
IR: What is the strategic rationale behind the tenancy mix?
SL: Successful shopping centres today offer a broad retail range combining fashion and tradition retail with a strong experiential offer, such as cinemas, dining and leisure activities.
Our research shows people love to meet with their friends for a meal or for coffee. Food and beverage retailing is one of the fastest growing retail categories. Tauranga, The Bay of Plenty and its surrounding regions does not currently have a comprehensive all weather dining destination combined with the entertainment offer of cinemas. When combined with other strong retailers, such as Pak n Save, The Warehouse, and international fashion retailers, the centre will provide the best range in the region.
There are national and international retailers which do not currently have a presence in Tauranga and are seeking high quality well-designed space. In addition other retailers are looking to grow their Tauranga businesses. We are responding to this demand.
IR: What has been the impact of redevelopments on current trade and retailers.
SL: Tauranga has experienced substantial population growth in recent years and yet seen little new retail space developed in response to this growing demand from both shopper and retailers. Tauranga Crossing is ideally located to serve these new and expanding residential areas and will provide the modern space required to attract new retailers to the area. By bringing new retail offers to the region and Tauranga Crossing, the development of stage two will complement our existing stage one retailers and further enhance Tauranga Crossing as the region’s premier retail destination.
The existing centre has been highly successful in its local catchment. Stage two will provide new local, national and international fashion brands and dining retailers in a new enclosed mall environment. The expanded range and enhanced offer at Tauranga Crossing will provide the region with a one stop retail destination to shop, dine, meet with friends and have fun. Stage two will complement the existing centre at Tauranga Crossing, as the Centre’s expanded range will attract more shoppers from a wider catchment.
IR: Why are retailers attracted to Tauranga?
SL: Tauranga is the fastest growing regional economy in New Zealand. The region has outperformed the national economy, with annual economic growth around 4 per cent.
Also, our research indicates that Tauranga has a relatively low provision of enclosed shopping centre space and that the local economy is capable of supporting a greater number of retailers.
IR: Can the international fashion retailer be revealed? Cheeky I know, but doesn’t hurt to ask…
SL: We cannot comment on specific retailers because of our confidentiality arrangements with them. We can however confirm that we expect a strong range of new local, national and international brands.
IR: Is retail more difficult today than other decades or is a case of shifting the goalposts?
SL: Retailing is a more dynamic environment than ever before, and obviously customers can now buy many goods online. However, online retailing is still only a very small percentage of total retail sales in almost every country, including New Zealand. The vast majority of retail sales still occur in shops. Most retailers consider online channels and traditional “bricks and mortar” retailing to be complementary, for example the trend to “omni-channel” retailing, or “Click and collect” etc.
Our customers still generally want to go shopping and they love great social experiences. Successful shopping centres will offer a broad range of retail options, combined with experiential options such cinemas and dining, and our focus is on curating the best mix possible for our customers.