Guildhall Shopping Centre Confirms Popularity

Market research carried out by the Guildhall Shopping Centre in Exeter has shown a significant upswing in its performance, with more shoppers visiting more frequently, from further afield, for longer periods and spending more.

The research took place in January, when 500 people were canvassed across the city centre. The results are published today (28th February 2013).

More people than ever before are visiting the shopping centre either daily or four to five times a week. They are visiting from further afield, for longer periods of time and spending more –the average shopping spend has increased by 15 per cent. Of those canvassed, 25 per cent said they had increased their spending in the Guildhall Shopping Centre, while 64 per cent reported it had remained the same.

The centre remains popular with shoppers: 85 per cent said they visited the centre each time they shopped, putting it slightly behind the High Street at 88 per cent but way ahead of Princesshay at 72 per cent. More people started their shopping trips at the Guildhall Shopping Centre than in any other area of the city.

The Guildhall Shopping Centre also compared well with other shopping centres in the region, including Cribbs Causeway and Drake Circus. Of those polled, 83 per cent said the Guildhall Shopping Centre was better than or about the same as other shopping centres in the area.

The management team at the Guildhall Shopping Centre has invested heavily in two key areas over the past year – the fabric and facilities of the complex, and community activities.

The market research showed that the investment has paid off, with improved ratings for safety, cleanliness, welcome, customer care and facilities and the majority of people saying that there was nothing they would change about the centre.

Around 60 per cent agreed that the Guildhall Shopping Centre was an important part of the community (up from last year’s figure of 46 per cent), showing that local sponsorships, support for community groups and free events in the centre are appreciated.

Central to the centre’s success has been the introduction of the monthly Exeter Innovations Market, featuring local craft, artisan and food businesses. Shoppers who were polled said that the market had encouraged them to visit the centre when they might not have visited before, and to spend longer there. They also reported that the market had encouraged them to visit stores in the Guildhall Shopping Centre, contributing to the increases in dwell time and average spend.

Andrew McNeilly, centre manager at the Guildhall Shopping Centre, commented: “It goes without saying that we are delighted by the results of our most recent market research. It shows that the Guildhall Shopping Centre, and Exeter as a whole, are bucking national trends and really performing well for our customers.”

He added: “This sort of research is a vital tool in helping us to sculpt the centre to the needs of our customers. Previous research highlighted areas in which we need to improve and where we have invested – today’s results show that the investment was well made. We will continue to listen to our customers to ensure that the good work achieved so far is continued into the future.”

John Harvey, city centre manager, said: “The results of the Guildhall Shopping Centre’s market research show that the underlying trend for the retail experience in Exeter is on the up. The centre is a longstanding and much-loved part of the wider city centre offering and it is great that it has a management team that is committed to making continuing improvements based on what customers are telling them.”

The research was carried out by Exeter-based Power Marketing. The marketing and promotion of the Guildhall Shopping Centre is undertaken by an in-house team supported by Red Rocket and PR Works, both also local businesses.

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