Ingka Centres, the shopping centre division of Ingka Group, announced that it has successfully reopened 15 of its 38 worldwide Meeting Places that had temporarily closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. All of its malls in Poland, France, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Croatia have reopened since April, joining centres in China and Germany which re-opened in April.
Meeting Places across Italy, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Spain and the United Kingdom remain temporarily closed. Seven Ingka Centres Meeting Places across Sweden and Finland have remained open, with additional health and safety guidelines, throughout the pandemic.
The latest footfall figures and conversion figures from re-opened Meeting Places worldwide show an encouraging and sustained return of customers. In China, visitors to LIVAT Centres in Beijing and Wuxi in April reached 67 and 81 per cent of equivalent figures from last year. LIVAT Wuhan has been most affected, and after a fortnight of trading, footfall stood at 45 percent. In Poland after 51 days of lockdown, footfall has returned to 87 percent of 2019 figures with nine in ten stores open. Importantly those visiting are proving more likely to spend, with turnover at the LIVAT Centre Wuxi reaching 104 percent of the equivalent period last year.
Ingka Centres operates 45 centres in 15 different markets in Europe, plus Russia and China, and would normally see 480 million people visit its malls each year.
Gerard Groener, Global Managing Director of Ingka Centres comments: “As one of the first international businesses to encounter coronavirus we are now amongst the first to help tenants reopen and rebuild their footfall. While it is too early to see significant differences between markets, it is clear that customers are keen to get back to a normal life.”
“We are seeing visitors value the consistency of safety and reliability standards in place across our centres, with our additional hygiene and cleaning measures proving successful in helping to rebuild public confidence in communities spending time together once again. Despite up to a quarter of outlets and facilities remaining closed due to ongoing restrictions, together with our partners, we’re pleased to see that across our Meeting Places the sales numbers are exceeding our expectations. While visits are down slightly, those that come clearly have the confidence to spend.”
Meeting Places across China and Europe have opened with a range of temporary measures to encourage customers to maintain their distance from others. This includes graphics on the floor showing the right distance to stand apart, as well as extensive display advertising to encourage best practice in hand washing.
Across territories yet to re-open, Ingka Centres remains committed to supporting the local communities of which it is a part. In Portugal, MAR Shopping Meeting Places are supporting families with weekly food deliveries via a local community support project, as well as supporting local health campaigns with the donation of our advertising space to their campaigns. In Russia, where all Meeting Places are still closed, MEGA centres have been providing free home deliveries for at-risk and elderly customers unable to leave their homes. Now that malls have begun to reopen, a €1.6 million worldwide investment will be made by Ingka Centres into community programmes to reunite local neighbourhoods.