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Hammerson says multichannel approach helps add value, as it rolls mobile app and beacon technology out across its portfolio

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Hammerson says a multichannel approach to retail has helped it to meet the demands of both customers and traders in its shopping centres. This year it plans to roll out across its shopping centre portfolio, its Plus mobile app, which uses Bluetooth beacons and geolocation technology to send shoppers personalised offers.

The property developer, which specialises in retail and operates shopping centres including Brent Cross and Cabot Circus, Bristol [pictured], says a strategy of “superb customer service” underpinned by multichannel services such as click and collect, free wi-fi and mobile apps enables it to support new ways of shopping.

“Consumers are increasingly considered in their approach to shopping,” it said in its full-year results announcement today. “They have more choices than ever before and are using multiple channels to research, buy and coplete their purchases. “Retailers are adapting their offer to react to these changes. We are working to a tightly defined strategy to ensure that our products offer of proactively managed, outstanding retail space meets the demands of both consumers and retailers.”

It added: “Our strategy also recognises the need for superb customer service and facilities that make shopping easy, more convenient and enjoyable throughout the day.”

The company launched click and collect at Brent Cross in 2014 through a partnership with Collect+ and says the service is “already performing very strongly”. As well as offering free high speed wifi, it launched the Plus mobile app at its Marseilles shopping, Les Terrasses du Port, in May. The app uses Bluetooth beacons and geolocation technology to send shoppers personalised content and offers that are relevant to their previous browsing, the way they’ve previously redeemed offers and the stores they’ve visited. Now it plans to roll the Plus app out across its portfolio during the course of this year. Such digital tools, it says, enable it to send “timely, relevant and highly targeted” messages to shoppers, “driving loyalty and spend.”

It added: “We have strengthened our team with digital and loyalty experts and invested in class-leading analytic platforms to ensure that the true value of this data is realised.”

Hammerson also pointed to its social media activity: it shares content with its million-plus followers as well as supporting physical events designed to draw shoppers to malls, from student nights to food and fashion events.

The update came as Hammerson reported net rental income of £305.6m in the year to December 31 2014. That was 8.1% up on the same time in the previous year, or 2.1% on a like-for-like basis. Pre-tax profits came in at £703.1m, more than double the £341.2m it reported last time. The company said its strategy was to maximise income through active management and to create high-quality retail destinations.

Chief executive David Atkins said: “We have delivered strong results o the back of a significant uplift in asset valuation and continuing income growth. The recovery in UK consumer sentiment has continued to strengthen, driving increased demand from retailers for prime space, which is now translating into ERV (estimated rental value) growth across the whole portfolio.” the company was “confident in our ability to deliver sustainable growth going forward.”

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