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Westfield mistakes ruin marketing promotion and blocks foot traffic – and offers no assistance

Mark Fletcher
December 9th, 2013 · 10 Comments

I loved the idea of Super Saturday pitched by Westfield to tenants at Westfield Knox City. We completed the form indicating we would offer 25% off all gifts except plush and Christmas. We did this to be an active participant in a whole of centre sale that they would promote through a catalogue and other mediums.

Whereas AMP, the former landlord, would share with us the marketing material well in advance, Westfield kept it to themselves until the morning of.

westfieldfail1Saturday morning we discovered Westfield didn’t follow our request, they were promoting us offering 25% off everything in-store – not just gifts as we indicated. The poster, catalogue and other materials were all wrong. Someone from centre management visited after we contacted them but he offered no solution or compensation for the mistake by Westfield.

westfieldfail2Also on Saturday, Westfield setup a series of outposts and signs out the front of my shop in such a way that they blocked the usual and natural flow of foot traffic from the car park across to the newsagency. The photo does not show how bad the Westfield layout was. Not only did it block traffic, the door outpost was dangerous with people (myself included) tripping on the base of one of the stands. Again, the person from centre management offered no solution.

One outpost was a kids activity area. The centre management guy said it’s bringing people to centre. I doubt that. It was blocking access to my shop. I need access to make sales and pay the rent. That argument appeared to be lost on this guy.

I asked for the centre manager to contact me, they have not yet done this.

I was angry Saturday when I saw the marketing screw up and the traffic diversion because this was to be Super Saturday, the landlord had let us down and upon showing them this they offered no assistance. This same landlord takes a zero tolerance approach to stepping over the lease line and other matters yet they do not hold themselves to the same standard.

What I would have liked is a free spruiker at the shop to attract people walking past because of their barriers and someone pitching the actual offer we had and not the mistake on their posters and in their catalogue.

If they read this blog post they will most likely complain to me and step up ‘compliance’ visits to the store. It’s happened with landlords before. You screw up and they attack, you complain about their screw up and they attack. This is life in a shopping centre.

I decided to not blog about this Saturday or Sunday as I was too angry. The post I wrote in my head was full of venom. While am still angry this morning, the passing of time has dulled the anger somewhat.

Saturday was okay for us, not what we expected, but okay. It would have been much better had Westfield not screwed up.

Westfield needs to look carefully at what it does in its centres at busy times like Christmas. ¬†While they run feel good promotions, they often don’t result in shoppers visiting shops. They fill mall areas with outposts from short term tenants often not represented in the centre and who pull focus from their long term tenants who pay the bulk of the rent. They make mistakes on promotions and don’t fix them. They rarely work with you on programs that will work for your business.

12 likes

Category: retail leases · Retail tenancy · Ugh!

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 ed // Dec 9, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    Was never a fan of shopping malls and this just backs it up, But why isn’t there a stock standard lease for malls to stop this happening. Westfield seem to get away with financialyl harming the tennet all the time and nothing changes.

    1 likes

  • 2 Amanda // Dec 9, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    Like your comments Mark, but the reality here is another example of the weakness of the fragmented industry.

    I totally understand your outpost comments also. Very frustrating when a temporary tenant selling Steve Parish Calendars at $5.

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  • 3 Wally // Dec 9, 2013 at 7:26 PM

    Mark is this the same landlord that charges for the post box. Sorry but I see red every time i think landlord. I would seriously like to see their mini monopolies broken up. They do what they do because they can. Every law to rein them in makes them think of another way to screw you.

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  • 4 Lance // Dec 9, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    Landlords, a rule unto themselves.
    They have you by the S&Cs.
    If you don’t say “Yes Sir”, someone else will.
    Never, ever would I consider a shopping complex lease. Some of the issues Mark brings up from time to time emphasise my thoughts.
    I’ve heard other horror stories of pathetic treatment of tenants, generally by a young upstart who thinks they rule the world. Those same clowns are in their position only while it suits the management on the next level up the tree.
    They all started at the bottom of that tree, most will end their careers at that same level. It’s what most of them deserve.

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  • 5 Mark Fletcher // Dec 10, 2013 at 6:38 AM

    We want to be in these centres for the traffic attracted to them and for most of the time love the experience. But when things go wrong their is little or no accountability.

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  • 6 Jonathan Wilson // Dec 10, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    Maybe there needs to be legislation to reign in shopping center landlords and address the unfair relationship between landlords and small businesses.

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  • 7 June // Dec 13, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    In our centre the landlord is king (small k).
    They are bullies and they don’t care who they hurt.
    We were told we could have 12 weeks trading outside to compensate for the smaller shop this year (their instigation not ours) They came in this week and demanded that we move some of our product from outside as we had “too much”. We tried politely to explain that it was the best way to sell cards ( flat on a table) but they wouldn’t listen. My husband was so furious I had to send him
    home to calm down.
    I then tried the tactic of “well, we only have a few more days and then it is over” and that didn’t wash with them either, so we had to bring a lot of our cards inside where nobody sees them.
    In my next life?????? I am NEVER going to be in a centre at the mercy of some
    upstart young manager.
    Just to spite them all we are having a reasonable trading period at present so I hope it isn’t just a phyrrhic victory

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  • 8 lyn // Dec 13, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    Westfield are blocking our traffic on a grand scale, they installed boom gates in our centre at the end of October, our customer numbers have been affected, our November reporting shows that our customers have reduced by 700+ , has anyone else had this problem with the installation of boom gates in a shopping centre. All the centre retailers are concerned and noticing the fall in customer numbers in our centre, we have approached Westfield management with the reporting facts from our Tower system and they do not want to know!!

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  • 9 michelle // Dec 17, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    lyn, not sure which state you are in but know this you do have rights. I know of a case in 1994 where a shop ctr owner allowed the opening of a side fire door at the request of the major tenant. This effectively changed the flow of foot traffic cutting off 2/3rds of the centre (allowed customers to directly walk to the major and back to the car park. The tenants formed a tenants association got legal representation (cost of which was shared equally by each) and well before it went to court the matter was settled (door closed!). Landlords have an obligation to tenants a part of which is detailed in the disclosure document attached to your lease. Westfields would be well aware of this. The question maybe was it their decision to put up the boom gates or was it a council or roads dept decision. That is outside of their control. Forming a tenancy group to counter an unfair/ illegal act is worth while. Hope this helps

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  • 10 Mark Fletcher // Dec 17, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    The challenge Michelle is that traffic flow is fluid with all the outposts and pop-up shops at the moment.

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