29 Jan 2020

When our customers speak, we listen

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The 2019 transformation of Westfield Hurstville demonstrates Scentre Group’s ability to be agile in the face of change and deliver what customers want

The team at Westfield Hurstville has reinvented and remixed its offering in response to a growing truism in the retail sector: bigger no longer necessarily means better. When one of Westfield Hurstville’s large discount department stores decided to vacate, the Centre Management team found themselves asking the question: How can we best reinvent this space for our customers?

“Many department stores across Australia and New Zealand are thinking about their future, shaking things up, reviewing, rejigging and resizing. We are always listening to customer feedback to identify new and sought-after brands so we can curate the best offering of retail products, services and experiences. This particular situation provided us with an opportunity to create something new and unique for our customers at Hurstville,” says Westfield Hurstville Centre Manager, Michael Peck.
 
Michael says one of the first things they did was to listen to the diverse needs of their customers and retailers. “Consulting with our customers and the local community was a vital part of this process and gave us some great ideas on how to fill the space. We found out what type of stores they would like to see in the centre and, having attracted those stores, the results have been nothing short of astonishing.”

The departure of Target created space for three new medium-sized stores: TK Maxx, UNIQLO and JD Sports, and several smaller specialty stores. A grand launch of the three major brands in September 2019 enabled the stores to start as they meant to go on.


 

At the opening of UNIQLO – the 7th UNIQLO store within the Westfield Living Centre portfolio - there were over 1,900 customers waiting in line to sample the new offering.
 
“With Westfield Hurstville being a key place where the local community shop and dine, it was very encouraging for us that our store opening was met with such enthusiasm. We’re committed to providing customers in the Hurstville area access to well designed, high quality everyday essential apparel at an affordable price point,” says UNIQLO Australia Chief Operating Officer Kensuke Suwa.
 
Michael agrees that the customer support has been overwhelming. “Ultimately, customers have had the casting vote, and they have done this with their feet. In addition to turning out in droves for a fantastic opening day launch, all the indicators since – foot traffic, retail sales, customer feedback and our Customer Advocacy Score (which has more than doubled since adding these new brands) – show that we are absolutely delivering what our customers want,” he says.

“All the big shops are here now and there is a great variety of things to select and buy.” 
Google review, 29 Oct 2019
 
“Love all the new stores and variety as well as lots of huge retailers! Can get everything done in one location.”
Survey response, 12 Dec 2019

 
The project has been a win for customers – who are thrilled to have access to much-anticipated new brands; a win for new retailers – who are ecstatic to have expanded their exposure to an enthusiastic customer base; a win for existing retailers – who are enjoying an increase in customer visitation; and a win for Westfield Hurstville – with increased foot traffic and sales.
 
“Westfield Living Centres are at the heart of the local communities they serve and Scentre Group continues to be very proud of the role we fulfil in the lives of our customers, providing a mix of products, services and experiences they want,” continues Michael.

“This project epitomises Scentre Group’s well-known ability to be agile in the face of change and perfectly demonstrates the value we place on our retail partnerships and customer relationships. When they speak, we listen.”

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