Capital Shopping Centres‚ one of the UK's largest listed property groups‚ announced on Tuesday (15 January) that it was establishing a single nationwide brand for its centres and changing its name to Intu Properties‚ while rolling out digital infrastructure in its malls.
The group‚ which is listed in London and on the JSE and has a significant South African shareholding‚ was making an overall investment of £25m -- including £7m on brand creation and roll out‚ £8m on digital infrastructure and £10m on a fashion-focused‚ mobile enabled eCommerce website‚ intu.co.uk.
On 18 February‚ Capital will change its name to Intu Properties and the group will begin the roll-out of free WiFi in its malls with the first launch in Trafford Centre in March. It is targeting free WiFi in every centre by February next year.
The group will create a single brand‚ Intu‚ to be incorporated in its directly-managed centres. Capital's directly managed malls will be rebranded with the Intu logo and the original centre names will be changed - for example‚ Lakeside will be renamed Intu Lakeside.
Chief executive David Fischel said in a conference call on Tuesday (15 January) that a "single common thread" across all Capital centres was "essential for the digital world".
It would also bring "huge benefits in terms of customer recognition‚ more effective use of our annual marketing budget‚ national marketing opportunities and an opportunity to refresh the physical look and feel of our centres"‚ Fischel said.
He said while markets understood the Capital brand‚ the average person did not.
There was no obvious link between Capital and its individual centres‚ and the centres themselves had no obvious connection to each other - resulting in "considerable disparity" in how the centres displayed themselves.
"The new brand opens up a whole new world of national marketing opportunities‚" Fischel said.
The changing world of retail meant half of the UK's internet users now made use of the Internet at some stage in the shopping process‚ and by mid-2012‚ "over half of fashion consumers have used a mobile device to make purchases"‚ providing new opportunities for the group‚ he said.
Finance director Matthew Roberts said the eCommerce website had already signed up 40 retailers -- representing more than 1‚000 brands.
The site would generate revenue from sales commissions of about 10% as well as from advertising‚ and was expected to break even in three years‚ Roberts said.
The group said in a statement that in addition to the customer experience being improved‚ retailers would benefit from higher spend both in-store and online from enhanced footfall‚ dwell time and customer service and the effectiveness of centre-by-centre marketing spend.
The company would receive new revenue sources such as national commercial partnerships‚ digital commissions and advertising‚ it said.
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