A job in a shopping center management team can be interesting and yet also a challenge. There are various roles to fill, and good people are required to work in shopping centers. So, do you want to secure a job in a vibrant and successful retail property in your town or city? There are some things to know and think about.
Securing a job in a large retail property involves good personal discipline, communication skills, property knowledge, and a sound degree of retailer business awareness, marketing and sales. Expect that every successful retail property will be different than any other, and intensely busy; the skills that you bring and apply to the property will impact the investment for the landlord. Are you ready for the retail property challenge? There are some focus points to develop.
Key Retail Facts
The success of a shopping center will depend on important facts such as:
- Choice of tenants in the overall mix
- The placement of tenants around the property
- Competing properties nearby and the impact on your managed property
- The rents to be asked and charged to existing and new tenants
- The number of customers visiting the property each day or week
- The marketing of the property to new tenants and customers
- The ability to negotiate leases and occupancy terms
- Reducing vacancy factors and retaining good tenants
- The shopping patterns and requirements of the customers and shopper demographic
- Enhancing the terms of occupancy for all tenants
- The strength of the lease documentation in controlling tenants
- The maintenance of the property and its presentation
- Improving the landlord’s net position for the investment
- Landlord involvement and flexibility in property performance
Today, you hear so many stories where financially aggressive landlords with high expectations on market rentals can limit or destroy the businesses of tenants in a shopping center. Make no mistake here; there is a fine balance between a successful tenant and the landlord with their investment focus.
Quality and Performance
I like to refer to shopping center management as the highly ‘specialized’ end of the property industry. Top quality people are needed in most roles; those people with ‘ordinary’ property skills usually struggle to handle the pressure of the working day, and that struggle can impact the asset. Landlords know this and will look for retail experience and skill in their property management team.
A shopping center is like a large ‘cruise liner’, where customers are looking for unique experiences, entertainment, and value. The success of a shopping center depends on the ‘journey’ and relationships and involvement of all the stakeholders; most particularly tenants, customers, the landlord, the center management team, and financiers.
All parties in the ‘property equation’ are important to the balance and performance of the property. One ‘weak link’ in the stakeholder chain can break or slow the performance of the property.
A Strategic Retail Approach
So, it is a fact that retail strategy and property knowledge are required elements of staff engagement and placement. Property performance and function will be impacted by the management team and the skills applied to the property as part of the retail business plan. That is where the people in the team will ‘impact results’.
Size does matter in staffing a shopping center! The larger the shopping center, the greater the number of people in the center management team, and that is specifically to effectively control tenants, customers, and contractors.
There is always plenty of work to do across a variety of property activities. The retail roles will extend across marketing, lease management, tenant controls, customer service, property documentation, and financial management.
Can one person do all these things? In a smaller property the answer can be ‘yes’, however, the answer is usually driven from the size and complexity of the property and tenancy mix first and foremost.
Time and task intensity escalates with property size and will thereby dictate retail duties and staff placement. Only the smallest of shopping centers can be managed by just one person. As the number of tenants and the customer visits increase, the staffing levels and skills capability also increase.
So, how can you secure a job in a retail shopping center or in the retail property industry? Learn everything that you can about retailing, property performance, financial management, and property documentation. A position in a shopping center will usually involve all these different skills and a solid ‘foundation’ of retailing knowledge.