Good Shopping Centre Managers Are Worth the Price

Posted by Estates Gazette on 20th Oct 2017

Shopping centre management is a people business and good managers are worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, according to Ellandi investment director Mark Robinson.

He said that owing to the recession and the way secondary shopping centre assets have been traded, there has not been much investment into on-site facilities and staff. 

“When assets have been in distress you try to reduce costs to your tenants, but when you pare things down to the bone so far you are storing up problems for the future: whether under-resourced staff or the under-resourced planned preventive maintenance,” he said. 

Ellandi owns 34 centres around the UK with a total value of £1.4bn. Robinson was asked by Catherine Lambert, head of retail management at Cushman & Wakefield, what investors want from agency management teams. 

He said what these teams cannot do very well is the micro centre and people management, which Ellandi prefers to do itself. 

“Property managers want to pass over reporting and accounting, but the property management is a people business,” said Robinson. 

“Something so intrinsic as commerciality of customer experience is something we want to do ourselves as an investment manager.” 

He gave the example of how managers at smaller centres often do not understand the difference between the smaller, independent retailers and how they have to be treated differently to someone who is a store manager in a chain store. “It is a very different skill set you have to have,” he said.

“It is about personalisation and what the investor wants to achieve with that asset type. It is about understanding what they want to achieve in that locality, rather than saying what we add to the workflow."

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