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Nemanja Bućinac, Head of Retail Leasing Department MPC Properties

Food Anchors Offer New Experiences Of Taste

What economic benefits does a shopping center gain from a tenant mix with a strong food anchor?

In order to answer this question properly, we need to define what strong food anchor means. What we currently see on the global market is a big switch from size to experience.

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Food anchors currently represent one of the best sources of experience for shoppers, because they are not offering only food and basic needs, but an offer based on discovery, new taste, interactivity.

For the customers this practically means that on one spot they can find the best they could expect from the food anchor. In general, shopping malls are a tool for the excellent promotion of them since they are part of the overall F&B strategy and offer. This global change, in general, attracts customers with a higher purchasing power since this could be a new journey for them, while this consequently means that shopping malls could reach higher income, higher footfall as well as to increase the overall attractiveness.

What–in return–do supermarket chains gain from the presence in a shopping center, compared to stand-alone locations?

The shopping center customer is very different compared to the stand-alone supermarket shopper. In this situation purchasing process is driven by instant buying which is, by its nature, in opposite to the rational and planned one. Their presence in shopping malls increases the number of customers since the whole story is not based on pricing but on experience. As a result, the supermarket chains are touching new customers, and they also increase the quality of the average basket which in general means higher income for both, shopping malls and supermarkets. Flagship effect will continue to influence the customer appreciation of the brand even when buying in standalone location as well as on e-commerce platforms of the same chains. This practically means that their presence in shopping malls could be treated as a very strong marketing tool.

Can you name an example of a “shopping center-food anchor” partnership with especially high synergetic coaction?

Serbian market is at the very beginning with the changes in this regard. There are already few very good examples but we, as the landlord, are actively in contact with the operators in order to open one of those interactive flagship concepts in Usce mall. Hopefully this will be done by the end of 2022.

What are the main problem areas that could aggravate the constructive cooperation between shopping centers and food anchors?

What we can currently see on the global market is that there is a need for a specialized shop, with micro concept implemented. The best example of that is the explosion of food halls everywhere. In such space the operators can be focused more on quality and proximity of the customer. What can be also a very good option for food retailers is to sublease part of their space to micro specialists. This might have a very big impact on the overall footfall and turnovers. Otherwise, expectation is that the added value of food anchors will not exist anymore, and it could be more and more challenged with e-commerce.

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