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Is eating the new shopping?

According to Statistics New Zealand, hospitality was the strongest performing retail industry in March, up $3.5 million (0.4 percent).

JLL New Zealand head of retail Chris Beasleigh says there’s only so much retail that can be fitted into a shopping development, which is why a range of food and beverage options is needed.

“Retailers have to be innovative and find new ways to engage with customers. Eating and drinking give shoppers another reason to stop by your premises and it increases their ‘dwell time’. The longer they spend interacting with your brand, the better,” he says.

Planners of shopping centres or developments can take advantage of this by making sure the mix of retail to food and beverage stores is right.

JLL retail food and beverage specialist Anthony Barton says the pay-off for retailers is increased foot traffic and potential customers.

“When you integrate the right food and beverage operator into a retail development, you get so much more foot traffic. Everyone wins.”

Beasleigh says individually, retailers can also get on board with this trend by adding an in-store restaurants or café to their store.

Internationally, luxury brands like Burberry, Gucci and Armani have created in-house hospitality offerings to become more of a destination to shoppers. Armani now has restaurants and cafes in 13 cities around the world.

“I believe that cafés and restaurants are a destination after a day’s shopping; a space where you can enjoy a smart and relaxed atmosphere,” Giorgio Armani said to Business of Fashion.

“I’ve always wanted to create a complete Armani lifestyle that reflects my ideas and can be applied to different areas, not just fashion. Restaurants and cafés seemed a logical expansion.”

More locally, there has been an increase in the number of New Zealand stores serving their products with a side of coffee.

Bookshops have been doing this for years, but fashion and gift stores are now getting in on the action.

Notable examples include Barkers High St’s coffee bar, Northcote-based Junk & Disorderly’s in-store coffee caravan and Thomas’s Department Store in Blenheim, which created an in-store café in November.

Junk & Disorderly

Barkers High St

In an interview in the latest NZRetail Magazine, co-owner Tim Thomas said the addition of a café means it’s now more of a destination store.

“What it’s done is helped to draw people into the store and is another means to engaging with customers. You might come into a clothing store once a season to buy a shirt, but you’ll come in every day to buy a coffee.”

Food and beverage offerings also tie into the growing trend of retailers making their stores more experiential to create an engaging, one-of-a-kind shopping experience.

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