Restaurant chains increase their influence over retail sales

STRATFORD, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Members of the public dine in the food court of the giant Westfield Stratford shopping mall adjacent to the Olympic Park on July 31, 2012 in London, England. Trading in the huge 1.9 million sq ft mall has been boosted by the footfall of spectators, volunteers and competitors from the Olympic Park; whilst shops and restaurants in London's West End are reporting up to 70% declines in revenue.  (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

The importance of a diverse food and beverage (F&B) offer on the overall attractiveness of a retail location is most highly rated among young people, according to international real estate advisor Savills.  

The firm’s research found that Generation Z (16-24-year-olds) and Generation Y (25-34-year-olds) rated choice of restaurants as 6.1 and 6.4 out of 10 respectively (where 10 is very important) in determining where to shop for fashion, compared to an average of 4.9 across all age groups.

This trend is even more pronounced in London, says Savills, where the importance of the F&B offer in choosing where to shop was rated as 7.2 by Generation Y and 6.2 by Generation Z.

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Across all age groups, the average importance rating was also highest in London at 6.1, followed by 5.0 in both Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East.

Savills also highlights that the less frequently a consumer shops, the more likely they are to visit a F&B operator on that trip.

An average of 73.2% of consumers who shop every two weeks visit a food outlet, dropping to just 31.9% for those who shop at least once a week.  Frequency of eating out while shopping also varies by geography and age group, and is highest among younger consumers.

Savills says 17.8% of Generation Z eat out while shopping once a week, compared to 11.1% for the Baby Boomer+ group (55+ years).    Again, this disparity is more prominent in London, where 27.8% of Generation Z and 8.9% of BabyBoomer+  visit a restaurant while shopping once a week.

Marie Hickey, commercial research director at Savills, said: “Retailers are facing a number of challenges in 2017 with the revaluation of business rates, minimum wage, weaker consumer confidence and structural shifts in the way we shop.  All of this could put pressure on store portfolios. Those locations that are ‘attractive’ places to shop are likely to remain desirable to retailers, with our research suggesting that part of that desirability is based on the variety and quality of the location’s food offer, particularly if wanting to   attract more younger shoppers.”

Mark Simms, head of shopping centre agency at Savills, adds: “F&B operators have been particularly active over the last three years. While their influence on shopper behaviour varies geographically, in many cases the F&B offer is a significant factor in determining where consumers choose to shop and frequency of visits as well as having a positive effect on dwell time. In turn, this creates the opportunity for landlords and retailers to convert at least some of that into retail spend.”

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