Published: 10 September, 2007
The SCEPTRE Award for Centre Manager of the Year at a large shopping centre went to Susan Harris from Frenchgate, Doncaster.
Susan has managed Frenchgate for the past five years, during which time the centre has undergone a major refurbishment and extension. Throughout the refurbishment in 2005 full trading was maintained with little loss of footfall. But since the new scheme opened footfall has soared from 800,000 per month to an average of 1.5 million per month, and hit 2 million in December 2006.
Susan oversaw the opening of 33 new stores, plus several relocations, and Frenchgate now offers 800,000 sq ft of retail space with links to a mainline railway station and bus interchange, plus 1,800 car-parking spaces.
The high level of pedestrian throughput and the mix of uses means that Frenchgate is a challenging environment. However, for Susan customer service is an absolute priority, and feedback is actively encouraged through the customer service desk. Complaints have been few since the completion of the construction works.
In addition to personal visits, communication with store managers via telephone, bulletin or newsletter helps to maintain excellent relationships. Visit frequency varies from daily to monthly, and the Retailers Association is active and effective.