After more than 45 years, the Glatt Centre is still on the road to success – and with its innovative concepts it remains interesting for the new generation. The secret lies in a special combination of popular anchor tenants and the latest trend brands, social media and the extraordinary Retail Concept Lab.

One of Switzerland's oldest and most innovative shopping centres, Glatt, is also the country's shopping centre with the highest turnover (CHF 600 million p.a.). It has been owned by Swiss Life Asset Managers since 2020. The concept of the shopping mall originated in the 1960s in the USA. In Switzerland, the first shopping centres were built according to the American model in the 1970s. This includes the Glatt Centre, which opened in 1975 near Zurich Airport. The popular shopping landmark attracts 9 million customers every year, who enjoy a shopping experience on some 43,000 m2 of retail space.

Trendsetter, anchor tenants and plug-in format
What is the strategy behind this success? Firstly, Glatt relies on strong, popular anchor tenants such as Migros or Globus. In addition, the shopping centre takes the ambitious approach of aiming to be the first point of sale in Switzerland for internationally successful trend brands. In the past, these included the Japanese lifestyle chain MUJI, the first Swiss H&M Home store, Xiaomi (Mi-Store) and The Bloomery. Experience shows: novelty and variety attract customers.

In terms of variety, the Glatt Centre goes even one step further: the Retail Concept Lab (RCL) has created a format for brands that previously could only be purchased online. For the duration of one month, such a brand store offers its goods in the RCL – so customers are always offered something new. At the same time, brands can test their products in the retail environment without having to invest heavily in their own stores. The RCL is modular: A flower shop with trendy dried flowers can easily move in directly after a fashion chain with sustainable clothing. The Retail Concept Lab is already fully booked for 2021. With regard to vacancy management, this plug-in format is also ideal for other retail property owners, especially in the post-pandemic period.

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From everyday shopping to leisure
In fact, the Glatt Centre has long been more than just a place to shop. In recent years, Glatt has seen one of the biggest space transformations in its history. Services and events are growing in importance – the shopping centre is increasingly becoming a leisure destination where people meet friends and family. In this context, an e-garden was created some time ago, in which the latest electric cars from Tesla, BMW, Honda, Aiways, etc. were presented daily to more than 1000 interested visitors.

Generational mix in the Glatt shopping centre
The trends of the future are also reflected in the social media strategy of the Glatt Centre. For example, the  shopping centre management recognised the potential of TikTok as early as 2019 and organised Switzerland’s first TikTok fan meeting that year.  The most successful videos of the shopping paradise count over 230 000 views, and the post about the introduction of Bubble Tea led to the product selling out immediately. With such innovations, the Glatt Centre, the sight of which has been familiar to anyone who drives by car on the A1 for 46 years, is constantly reinventing itself from the inside. Generation Z will most probably go shopping in Glatt just like their parents and grandparents did, as well as spending their leisure time there.

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