Pavilions on rise despite recession

Nicola Donnelly

Published 05/11/2013 | 05:32

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Ian Hunter, manager of the Pavilions Shopping Centre, with the Sceptre Award for Irish Manager of the Year.

DEFYING the recession, the Pavilions Shopping Centre in Swords is continuing to go from strength to strength with an increased footfall, more shops and, now, a top managerial award.

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DEFYING the recession, the Pavilions Shopping Centre in Swords is continuing to go from strength to strength with an increased footfall, more shops and, now, a top managerial award.

According to the manager Ian Hunter, the secret to the centre's success is the large retail mix and listening to their customers.

Since the centre opened in 2001, the number of shops has grown and it now boasts over 80 stores, an 11-screen cinema and a large number of eateries, employing over 1,700 people.

'We have continued to grow year on year and even through the recession which started in 2008 we have continued to buck the trend whereas some centres have seen reduced footfall and shops closing down,' Ian told the Fingal Independent. 'We always continue to have a good retail mix and listening to our customers as to what they want in the centre is important.'

Despite the challenges of recession, since 2007 the centre has added top brand names such as Zara, H&M, Next and River Island to its collection of stores.

'We are constantly improving the shopping experience for our customers,' Mr. Hunter added.

He said the attraction of the Pavilions is its location – just off them M1 on the Malahide Road and a 20 minute drive from the city centre, it is easy to access from both the north and south of the country.

'We have a large catchment area which we serve from the city centre, Drogheda, Clontarf and Howth as well as the local Fingal area and we are easily accessible which is a great advantage,' explained Ian.

Recently the management team won an international award for the Irish Manager of the Year at the Sceptre Awards in London. These awards recognise best practice and the best people in the shopping centre industry and are the pre-eminent accolades for the industry.

'With an award like this it does give the shopping centre recognition beyond the shores of Ireland which is great as international retailers are aware of the centre's success,' said Ian.

With Christmas just around the corner, it is hoped that there will be no vacant units at the centre.

'This is a great situation to be in but we can never be too complacent and we do focus on what's around the next corner and be prepared for every likely situation,' he said.

Every decision made in the shopping centre is made around the customer, said Mr. Hunter. 'We want customers to shop in a clean and tidy place, in a positive environment and hassle-free shopping, which is what we believe we have here at the Pavilions.'

This weekend sees the opening of DV8 store, which stocks top brands around such as Superdry, G Star Raw and AX Paris, while Sketchers is due to open within the coming weeks.

'These stores are on schedule to open shortly and we also have Chocolate Junction opening with its chocolate fountain,' said Ian. 'When you stand back and look at the centre it's all positive. Some of our clients are re-investing in the centre by doing new unit fit-outs.'

The introduction of Click & Collect shopping has also added to sales for the centre's retailers as customers can shop online in stores such as Next and Boots and avail of these stores bigger selection of items that are not stocked in the shops.

'The customer can then come into the stores, pick up their goods, try them on if they need to and if they require a refund they can get one there and then,' said Ian, adding that this systems gives customers the full advantages of shopping online with the added peace of mind that they won't miss the delivery man.

With over 1,700 people employed at the Pavilions, most of whom live in the locality, Ian sees this as a huge benefit as the majority of the money spent at the centre goes back into the local economy.

'We are now one of the biggest employers in the Fingal community and we hope things just get better and better for the Pavilions, its staff and its customers,' concluded Ian.

* The Pavilions Shopping Centre will host a special night of music, fashion shows and discounts with its 'Night at the Pavilions' on Wednesday, November 6, from 6 to 10 p.m.

Fingal Independent

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