Milford Centre: The shopping centre that dares to be different

  • In Association with NZRPG
  • June 20, 2017
Milford Centre: The shopping centre that dares to be different

New Zealand Retail Property Group is revamping its boutique fashion offering, the Milford Centre, as part of a $180 million development due to start this year. The changes include an extra 2,000 square metres of retail space, and 115 luxury apartments in a residential block situated at the centre.

The Milford Centre is located on Auckland’s North Shore. It prides itself on fashion and homewares, with an existing offering of around 70 retail, food and beverage and service businesses.

Paul Tanday, NZRPG’s general manager revenue, says the Milford Centre was developed as a boutique shopping destination after the group bought it in 2006. Aware of a competitor’s plans to launch a significant project nearby, NZRPG fitted out what was then an “average neighbourhood mall” into something completely different.

“We knew if we did the same thing at Milford as we’d always done, it would have suffered under the competition,” Tanday says.

He explains NZRPG had two choices with the Milford Centre: it could go downmarket, and create an outlet shopping centre; or it could go upmarket and aim for the well-heeled boutique shopper. Tanday’s team went up.

A boutique-style experience

NZRPG’s mission for the Milford Centre was to create a shopping environment on the North Shore which would act as an alternative for central-city fashion centres like Newmarket and Ponsonby.

The centre is a unique environment which turned heads when it was first re-launched. It was one of the first shopping centres in New Zealand to sport residential-style decorative touches: “Chandeliers and wallpaper was then actually unheard-of in malls.”

The unusual interior emphasised to shoppers that NZRPG dared to do things differently, Tanday says, although the market took some persuading.

“We had a devil of a time convincing some fashion retailers to come on board at the beginning,” Tanday says.

The Milford Centre now boasts a number of fashion retailers which wouldn’t normally be caught dead in a mall. Tanday highlights Moochi and Storm.

“They were initially a little bit concerned about the possibility of brand damage, but it was completely the opposite.”

Creating a sense of discovery

Boutique fashion, homewares and giftware is at the heart of the Milford Centre’s offering. It carries a mixture of independent retailers like Flo & Frankie, an Auckland-based multi-category retailer with four stores; and recognised brands such as Australian label Witchery.

“We’re very, very, very focused on not creating a bland offer… but we’re also cognisant that if we don’t have some established brands, there’s no interest for people,” Tanday says.

Giving shoppers a sense of discovery by leading them to new, independent fashion labels they wouldn’t otherwise encounter is an important part of the Milford Centre’s proposition.

Continuing to offer key services

The Milford Centre isn’t all boutique fashion. The Countdown supermarket, The Warehouse and services like Mister Minit attract repeat custom from shoppers looking for convenience.

“That part of the centre continues to trade well, and always will.”

Unlike many other shopping centres, NZRPG does not have contractual limitations prohibiting similar offerings to its grocery tenants in place. This means it can accommodate retailers like Greens, a thriving independent grocery store.

Only the best

NZRPG spends a lot of time vetting retail applicants for the Milford Centre to make sure each retailer adds variety, quality and colour to the mix, Tanday says.

“The key driver for Milford is and always will be the point-of-difference retailer.”

The Milford Centre doesn’t target value-driven retailers, but it offers a return on retailers’ investment by being relatively easy for customers to get to; offering free carparking; and creating a special environment that’s home to high-quality neighbouring retailers. It can also offer more flexibility on leases than the average shopping centre, Tanday says.

“We’re not interested in retailers being with us and struggling because that means they’re not providing our customers with what they want.”

Where necessary, NZRPG is amenable to helping retailers changing out their leases if the location isn’t working.

“If it’s not working for the retailer then, ultimately, we’re getting hurt too.”

Retailers benefit from NZRPG being New Zealand-owned and operated, says Tanday. The property management company has a lengthy investment horizon, and genuinely believes in creating a true partnership between its retailers and centre management.

Tanday says the fashion category at the Milford Centre is currently overtrading, hence the need for the centre’s expansion.

An exciting new direction

NZRPG continues its path of innovation with the new mixed-use development that’s currently underway at the Milford Centre. The company plans to replace the existing carpark at the eastern end of the complex with around 20 new shops, and will dig down to create a new underground parking area beneath it.

A residential area called The Milford will be installed on the second floor above the 20 new shops, and a second new residential area called Omana North is to be built on the Milford Centre’s northern side off Omana Rd. A tower containing 12 top-end penthouse apartments will complete the residential complex.

A new all-weather outdoor dining area is also on the cards. The Milford Centre has five heritage pohutakawa trees off Milford Rd, and it’s these which will form the heart of the new dining area.

Tanday says the planned dining area will bear little resemblance to a traditional food court – “Those things, as far as I’m concerned, are dead and buried,” - instead likening it to an evolution of the successful Ponsonby Central complex and The Brickworks at LynnMall. NZRPG is seeking diversity of cusine and of price points from food operators for this space.

“As part of this offer we are looking at creating a unique curated experience to provide quick and easy fresh, quality food. This will compliment the larger food and beverage operators,” Tanday says. “It’s more than just saying, ‘Here’s a box, start selling.’”

He says the residential complex created critical mass for the dining revamp, saying it would be reasonable to expect the inhabitants of the 115 planned apartments to dine out at least once each week.

To avoid creating an effect where customers flock to the newer areas and neglect pre-existing retail stores, NZRPG will embark on an ambitious “ambience upgrade” in excess of $10 million throughout the entire Milford Centre. It will include lots of emphasis on flooring and ceiling treatments, with natural stone floors and timber accents.

Greenery will also be introduced into the centre, echoing the effect of the pohutakawas outside.

Coming soon

Construction has already begun at the north end of the building, but significant work will be underway from June or July onwards. The new retail section is to open during quarter three or four in 2018, to coincide with the spring fashion season; and the new food and beverage development will be open in quarter two, 2019.

All design work has been handled in-house, with Dominion Constructors brought in as head contractor.

NZRPG expects to conclude negotiations with an anchor tenant for the new retail section shortly. Once this is completed, it can provide more detail about the flavour and feel of this new development.

“The feedback has been very good from our retailers, who are never shy about telling us what they want,” Tanday says. “We’re champing at the bit to get into the market.”

Milford Centre’s upgrade by the numbers

2,000 sqm of retail space to be added to the current 14,051 sqm.
115 luxury apartments to be built.
20 new stores to be added.
$180 million cost.

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.

 

Mark Powell joins the Stihl Shop board of directors

  • Who's Where
  • August 18, 2017
  • Sarah Dunn
Mark Powell joins the Stihl Shop board of directors

Former The Warehouse Group chief executive Mark Powell has joined the Stihl Shop retail network’s board of directors. He is now an independent member on Stihl Shop’s advisory board. Stihl Shops are stockists of Stihl products such as chainsaws, lawn mowers and other power tools.

Read more
 
 

Introducing Nordik: The handbags made from Salmon leather

  • News
  • August 18, 2017
  • Courtney Devereux
Introducing Nordik: The handbags made from Salmon leather

Salmon leather is not a material that first comes to mind when you think of luxurious Italian made handbags. But designer Lilja Viggosdottir has released her first collection of salmon leather bags, Nordik, showcasing its undeniable style, durability and function.

Read more
 
 
News

Sticky business

Loyalty schemes have been around since time immemorial, with Fly Buys leading the pack since its launch over 20 years ago. But there’s change afoot, ...

 
topics
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
Sisterhood
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...
 

Nielsen: Kiwis prefer optimism and local brands

  • News
  • August 17, 2017
Nielsen: Kiwis prefer optimism and local brands

Marketing teams are constantly striving to engage with their audience through brand reputation, but according to Nielsen, Kiwis are more relaxed and optimistic than our peers, so how should that factor into how you project your brand?

Read more
 
 
 
News

Tell us what you want from the 2017 general election

Ahead of the 2017 general election, The Register and NZ Retail magazine wants to know which election issues retailers care about the most.

 
Next page
Results for
Topics
Jobs
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

Advertise
The Register

editor@theregister.co.nz

Content marketing/advertising? Email marlene.coote@tangiblemedia.co.nz or call 09 358 7297 / 027 544 2298

View Media Kit

}