Jewel in the crown

Eurobuild Awards
The four-year-old, now fully leased Galeria Korona Kielce in the centre of that city, was judged to be the best shopping centre in the country in 2015 by tenants surveyed by Millward Brown for ‘Eurobuild CEE’. What’s the secret of its success?

The shopping centre in Kielce, which is owned by MGC Inwest, was held in the highest regard by its tenants when it came to key issues such as the leasing, the maintenance of the mall, the focus on the needs of the retailers operating in the centre, their satisfaction with the general tenant mix, including the anchor tenants, the footfall in the centre, and the parking facilities for the customers.

Close to the tenant

“This is the result of the work of our entire team,” comments Michał Góźdź, the managing director of Galeria Korona Kielce. In his opinion the key factor in its success is the direct contact the owners and managers have with the tenants. “Each of our tenants can meet up and talk to us. Each of our managers is obliged to directly contact the companies who cooperate with us and to discuss their plans as well as find out about their needs,” he says. And these vary slightly. The three-storey shopping centre, which includes 150 shops and has a useable area of 93,000 sqm, has a leasable area of 34,000 sqm. “Excluding our anchor electronic tenant Media Market, 50–53 pct of the brands present in the centre are addressed to women and app. 25–28 pct are brands typically devised for men,” explains Michał Góźdź. However, they all have something in common – they target customers who are looking for above-average quality. “When we were drawing up our new management strategy [one and a half years ago – editor’s note], it was our intention to increase the standard of the centre. Our tenant mix was the implementation of this strategy. We chose the Piotr i Paweł chain as the grocery operator and our tenants also include such top-shelf brands as Pandora, Royal Collection and Tommy Hilfiger. This is how we want to position ourselves,” explains the managing director of  Galeria Korona, who also emphasises that the customers also have to feel good as the tenants of the shopping centre.

The golden mean

For this reason the owner of Galeria Korona decided to use high quality finishing materials as well as indoor and outdoor architectural elements ideal for reflecting the elegant downtown character of the building. The design of the shopping centre in Kielce is the work of the Bose
International Planning & Architecture studio. “The modern form of its unique architecture integrates perfectly with the historic fabric of Kielce. The shape of the building, with its distinctive panelling, gives it an interesting openwork façade. When lit up at night the two-layer façade becomes a stunning, multi-coloured illumination,” boasts MGC Inwest. A mini park has been created in the square surrounding the shopping centre, featuring small items of landscape architecture and a sculpture that is a fountain at the same time. The three independent entrances, 24 flights of escalators as well as the panoramic lifts allow visitors to move easily around the centre, which is divided into theme alleys. Wireless internet is available throughout Galeria Korona. Modern sales promotion tools are also constantly being developed for use by the tenants of the mall. “They are specifically designed for each particular segment. In each quarter we set new goals for ourselves and new sales promotion tools in our efforts to continue to make customers familiar with retail approaches new to Świętokrzyskie Province as well as across Poland. We have recently introduced a gift card, which can be purchased at our information point and can be credited from PLN 50 to PLN 4,000 for the recipient of the card to spend exclusively in Galeria Korona’s stores,” explains Michał Góźdź.

Special task mall

In his opinion the greatest challenge facing shopping centres nowadays is to accommodate customers who suffer from a chronic shortage of time. “The hectic pace of the times we all have to live means that we have to offer customers the maximum functionality in one spot. People work more and more, they have additional responsibilities but their incomes have also been growing. The only thing they lack is time. Which is why we have to provide an offer that makes it possible for them to do a lot of things in one place. Retail and sales are the most important aspects for us, but we also want to provide our customers with some added value,” says Michał Góźdź. Because of this the list of tenants of Galeria Korona includes, among others, a language school that can offer lessons to app. 300 children. “People who bring their kids here for language lessons can shop in our stores. And the wide range of restaurant operators such as a recently opened Italian restaurant, provides new possibilities: holding business meetings and shopping at the same time,” explains the managing director of the centre. The entertainment and cultural section of Galeria Korona includes such tenants as a nine-screen Multikino, Klub Squash Korona, Pure Platinum fitness and a playground for children with an area of a few hundred metres. It also features a hi-tech stage as well as app. 20 restaurants and bars.

Acentre inacentre

Situated on ul. Warszawska in the town centre, Galeria Korona Kielce neighbours ul. Sienkiewicza – the main promenade in Kielce. Thanks to the good public transport links and ideal road infrastructure it easy to reach from almost anywhere in Kielce and the surrounding area. Its car parks have a total of 1,000 spaces. This specific location has also had an impact on the marketing strategy of Galeria Korona. “We are a shopping centre located in the town centre and we want to utilise this. Our location, 500m from the market square in Kielce, the city hall and the provincial marshal’s office, is an additional advantage for us: several thousand people are employed in the direct vicinity of the mall. To make them our customers we have implemented a variety of projects specifically devised with public sector workers in mind,” explains Michał Góźdź. Galeria Korona Kielce also has active accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as well as a blog outlining tenants’ best current offers.