Shopping Centre Leasing Tips for a Better Tenant Mix

When you as a retail leasing agent are to lease a retail property, the terms and conditions of the negotiation will involve more things than a standard office or industrial property to lease.  That is because the typical retail business will have factors of trade and opportunity to consider.

The typical tenant will want to know all the factors of the property before the lease negotiation will become real and relevant.

You will need to tell them about the ‘big’ property issues that impact a retail tenant including:

  • How the property operates and how it is maintained
  • The prevailing vacancy factor in the property and how it is likely to change
  • The profiles and trade of the existing tenants (suitably generalised for confidentiality)
  • Who the landlord is and what their targets are
  • How the anchor tenant (or tenants) benefits the property
  • How the existing tenants specialise and attract customers to the property
  • What the levels of asking rent and outgoings are for the property
  • Where the competing properties are and how they impact your property in the sense of trade and customers

Could a poorly managed retail property with a landlord that is income focused, ‘wreck’ a retail shopping centre tenant mix?  The answer is certainly ‘yes’.   Some landlords do not have a real appreciation of the retail trade process and priorities.   Retail property investment, leasing, and management are really special parts of the property industry; they are not for ‘first time’ investors.

As a specialist retail leasing agent you could find some ‘retail landlords’ are quite inexperienced when it comes to the performance of a retail property.  If the landlord or property investor has just ‘graduated’ from industrial or office property investment, they will require some education when it comes to the dynamics and functions of a retail property.

Links and Relationships

In retail property, everything is linked, and a weak link in the chain of relationships can threaten the success of the property.  Here are some of those relationships.

  1. The anchor tenant attracts customers to the property.  What are the intentions of the anchor tenant?  How are they trading now?  How do they interact with the specialty tenants?
  2. The speciality tenants support and grow the attractive nature of the retail property to the customer base.  Are those speciality tenants successful now?  Are there any problems in the tenant mix that should be addressed?
  3. Has a customer survey been done for the property and what are the factors of property function that were identified?
  4. The trade or success of the tenants will underpin the level and sustainability of the market rental for the property.  The landlord for the property should encourage the property profile and marketing processes so the tenants can be successful.
  5. The well managed outgoings for the property are a part of the tenants occupancy cost.  The outgoings should support sustained successful trade and not become a burden on a struggling tenant mix.
  6. Is the property marketed into the local customer base and demographic?  If so, is that process successful and should it be reviewed?
  7. How the property is maintained now, and is there any need for property change or upgrade?  That will include expansion, contraction, and refurbishment.

The proprietor of the business entering the property as a tenant is going to need to understand the functions of the property, the landlord, and the customer factors of the local area.   Shopping centres are very unique, and the way they are managed and operated will have a great impact on the customer base and the tenant mix.