Renata Kinde-Czyż, Metro Properties: Time for Quality

Renata Kinde-Czyż, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Metro Properties in Poland, press material.

Shopping center tenants and customers, investors, managers and other lessors operate in an important ecosystem. If this ecosystem shakes, there will be no winners. We are all going to lose – says Renata Kinde-Czyż, chairwoman of the board of Metro Properties in Poland.

While other malls struggle to fill empty spaces, M1 malls have 99% of them. occupied area. What is the recipe for successful commercialization in these difficult times for the industry?

The shortest answer is simply the quality of management by Metro Properties. This quality is ensured by experts, often with 10 or 20 years of experience. Plus, the business principles we follow every day. I will mention just a few: customer success, leadership by personal example, accountability and the quality of relationships with all partners, including colleagues and colleagues. These principles, combined with high ethics, constitute the DNA of our organization and result in good long-term relations with tenants. We are not driven by short term profits, we run a sustainable business where we seek long term solutions that are good for all parties. We understand that tenants, shopping center customers, investors and other owners operate in an important ecosystem. If this ecosystem shakes, there will be no gains. We all lose.

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A lot has changed recently…

First the pandemic, then the war. The effects include runaway inflation, a lack of raw materials on the market, labor availability issues, and skyrocketing transportation and energy costs. We all suffer because of this, so it is important that our relationships are based on mutual respect, kindness, understanding and long-term cooperation. Time for quality and long term plans. The “short-term” and short-term perspective will not come true in these difficult times.

Especially in these times, it is important to manage the running costs of the centers. Tenants know that we are strictly disciplined in respecting budgets and that we are constantly looking for solutions to optimize costs without compromising quality. The latest BREEAM-in-Use certification is an objective assessment of our efforts. “Excellent” and “Outstanding” in asset and building management show that we are achieving our goals, including savings in media consumption and waste management. And that, after all, translates into lower operating costs for our center tenants.

What are the relationships between shopping center managers and their tenants based on today?

Hard to say. I feel like everyone is looking for a wonderful recipe for the future. Everyone tries to protect themselves in the event of crises such as successive pandemics, wars and other crises. Well, you can’t. I will always say that we have to share the risk equally. Each of us must take care of the highest quality of the company we lead and develop scenarios that will ensure sustainable development. We have to find that balance. The pandemic, like any crisis, exposes the low quality: all the weaknesses and shortcomings on both sides.

Just how to…

Each party should examine these weaknesses and find new, better solutions. About four years ago, I said that our industry was changing. The pandemic has dramatically accelerated this process. Customers were not allowed to shop in physical stores and they made most of their purchases online. Some people have predicted the death of malls. Now everything is slowly returning to normal. On the other hand, we hear that the internet giants want to introduce fees for returns. And very well, now some customers will be more inclined to buy from stationery stores to avoid a tedious and expensive procedure. This does not mean, however, that it will be enough to wait a little longer and it will be as before. Relationships between managers and tenants should focus on developing increasingly perfect shopping experiences for customers in physical stores. Just recently, in one of the stationery shops in the mall, I was refused a refund for the goods purchased, due to certain regulations. I could only get a gift card in return. Do we really want to act like that? What type of shopping experience does the customer have?

At home or in the office, or what will office work look like?

The quality of the shopping experience is the key to long-term success. We all need to work on this together. In stationary stores, we have an incredible advantage that we can offer customers – people, not underdeveloped online robots. Let’s take advantage of this advantage by creating a pleasant shopping environment.

Are events and entertainment already a magnet to attract customers? Metro Properties was known for its unconventional events that drew crowds…

Events and entertainment are also changing. Some stock formulas are aging and becoming less attractive. We follow trends in the selection of marketing campaigns. We choose actions that will bring something to the lives of our customers or allow us to meet specific needs. We often exceed or organize actions with the emergence of a trend. As soon as the first signs of a renewed interest in health appeared, we immediately organized healthy food fairs. Since Christmas decorations in shopping centers have ceased to differ greatly from each other, with Multi Dekor we have invented the interactive Christmas islands, which have proven to be an absolute success.

We want our customers to be aware of technological advancements. That’s why we organized a series of actions based on VR and AR technologies (gift wrapping with Santa Claus in virtual reality and games in augmented reality). We even opened VR City at M1 Marki and M1 Poznań. Unfortunately, the pandemic has inhibited the development of this pilot.

How do you encourage your customer to visit a stationery today?

Today, knowing that the purchasing power of our customers is diminishing, we want to reward them for their long-standing loyalty to our centers. Hence a lot of lotteries and contests with prizes. In addition, we focus and want to help local communities. We promote local artists, artisans and manufacturers as well as organizations operating in local markets. We want to participate in the life of local communities and promote them.

In answering the question whether events are history, I believe not, events are important because they add value to shopping, and sometimes they are the reason why we shop at this center. Again, the quality of these events matters. We always remember that we do not organize events for ourselves because we only like them for our customers. That’s why we anticipate and follow trends. As long as we respond to trends and customer needs, it is definitely worth organizing events, naturally paying attention to their quality.

What changes are you making to facility management?

Since the beginning of our company’s existence, we are constantly changing and improving something, we are striving for greater efficiency and cost savings. That is why we have provided additional training for technical staff, thanks to which we can carry out many maintenance works ourselves, we have replaced the lighting in shopping centers with LEDs, we have introduced good flower meadows for the environment, and at the same time, we reduce the maintenance costs of the greenery. We improve and reduce security, waste management and cleaning costs. The list is lengthened increasingly.

At Metro Properties, we are always questioning the status quo and wondering what else we can do to improve quality. The highest quality and durability are our compass that we never lose sight of.

thanks for the conversation

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