A GLOBAL indoor activities company is pressing ahead with expansion plans after a renewal of interest from shopping-centre owners from around the world.
Grant Sonju, director of international business development Playtime, said that, with landlords increasingly warming to leisure as a way of drawing shoppers into their schemes, the time was ripe for further expansion in more markets, with Europe a key target.
“European shopping centres are rethinking how they operate,” he added. “Their thinking about leisure is that ‘this is serious now’. We see Europe as having lots of activity. Playgrounds create a lot of loyalty in shoppers, which means more footfall, traffic and dwell-time. Kids end up dragging their parents back in every day. It becomes a gathering spot; a community.”
Denver-based Playtime, which manufactures and installs children’s play areas in shopping centres, has been an established player in the retailtainment sector for 20 years. Over that period, it has fitted playgrounds in more than 1,500 shopping centres in 50 countries.
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Sonju believes that the recent uptick in interest is partly driven by conditions in the retail and F&B sectors, which have led to landlords struggling to fill large units in their schemes. But he said that, over time, a better understanding of the benefits of retailtainment had also emerged. “Three years ago, we were convincing people about why they should do this,” he added. “This year, there are a lot of meetings happening; people want to do this now.”
Playtime was established in Denver, Colorado, in 1998. The company has opened sites throughout the US, and has a big overseas presence, including sites in Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Australia.
This and more in the MAPIC News Issue one : https://issuu.com/mipim/docs/mapic_2018_news_1