Landsec Trinity Leeds data, property and retail with Retail Advantage analytics

ART’s Director Gareth Jordan talks to Glynn Edwards, Trading Director at Landsec, a longstanding client of our Retail Advantage platform to discuss the blended mix between technology, retail and property in the latest issue of Retail Destination.

Glynn Edwards and Gareth Jordan

Glynn Edwards, Trading Director at Landsec & Gareth Jordan, ART Software Group Director

Retail expertise

Gareth Jordan: Can you give a bit of background to your retail experience and how that led to your current role and expertise at Landsec?

Glynn Edwards: So my retail journey has always been primarily grounded in fashion retail with the bulk of it at Ted Baker. The last role I had there before moving over to Landsec 3 years ago was Head of UK Retail where I oversaw the people and operations of around 150 stores, concessions and outlets. Throughout that time I was able to work with a whole variety of different landlords and shopping centre operators across the UK and always had a really exceptional experience with Landsec over some of the other operators. So when I’d decided to branch out away from direct retail operations, Landsec stood out as being a great place to look. I was fortunate that just as I started to look for new roles a Business Development Manager position was created for our full price assets which I was pleased to get. From there the role evolved and now I head up our Trading Team which focuses on the collation of portfolio-wide sales and footfall, which we report on and analyse in order to drive commercial and strategic decisions. This is fundamental in driving one of our key performance indicators which is ‘Data Driven Decision Making’.

Gareth: Do you feel we are seeing a more blended mix between retail and property? 

Glynn: I would say so. One of our key pillars at Landsec is customer centricity and we’ve certainly been able to live this by bringing in a wealth of retail expertise to our teams. In doing so we’ve been able to break down some of the more traditional landlord and tenant challenges and have a much more collaborative approach. More and more now we’re seeing experts in both fields drift between the two disciplines which can only be a good thing.

Trinity Leeds

Gareth: How does technology play a part in your role and communications?

It’s a huge part of what we do, not just in my team, but as a business as a whole. Specific to my team Retail Advantage is an incredibly important tool, as we use it for the collection of sales data from thousands of brand partners.

Glynn Edwards, Trading Director at Landsec. Retail Destination Data & Technology Issue 2024

Glynn: Likewise, we use it in many centres as a communication channel although this is often complemented in other ways. In terms of how we present our data internally we’ve been expanding into Microsoft PowerBI, creating a whole raft of dashboards to give our teams access to data that they’d have not thought possible a few years ago. All of this is helping in our ambition to become a more modern digital business.

Retail analytics

Gareth: As you say Landsec uses Retail Advantage to collect and connect sales data. Can you share any examples of how analytics gathered through the tools support you, your brands changing needs and the leasing strategy? 

I would say one of the key ways in which we’re using this data at the moment is in pursuing a leasing strategy of ‘Fewer, Bigger, Better’. The sales density information we have available allows us to see brands who do not have enough space to fully express their brand or capture the full sales potential of the centre. We’ve been able to work with a whole variety of brands in the last few years to dramatically increase their store size in targeted environments where we have a high degree of confidence that they can increase their sales and ultimately their profitability. Away from just the data, we’re able to leverage our strong customer relationships to understand when a brand maybe doesn’t have sales density as a priority. We have examples in many of our centres where a brand is introducing itself to a new market or maybe a new demographic and so are less focussed on the money they generate, but on the connections they can make with our guests. We’re flexible enough in our approach that we’re able to support them regardless of their end goals.

Glynn Edwards, Trading Director at Landsec. Retail Destination Data & Technology Issue 2024

Gareth: What are the most exciting trends and are you seeing anything that has the potential to disrupt the sector? What would you like to see more of in the future?

Glynn: As with nearly all industries I would expect AI and machine learning to be quite disruptive. There’s such a huge opportunity for data-led businesses to find efficiencies and ultimately draw statistical conclusions more quickly that can go on to inform their decision making. For example, understanding how our guests move through and shop our assets is vitally important in order to provide them with the best possible experience and right mix of exciting brands. Given our total portfolio can have nearly 200 Million guests in a single year it wouldn’t be feasible for a team member to crunch these numbers and draw useful statistical conclusions, whereby an AI model could quite easily do so. However, it’s important to say there will still be a place for our teams. Ultimately it’s the human relationships and industry experience that would allow us to act on this information in a collaborative way with our brand partners. In terms of what I’d like to see more of in the future, I think it’s further collaboration between retail brands and landlords like ourselves. Retail is a rapidly changing marketplace and I feel that delivering the most meaningful experiences to our guests will be done through the process of collaboration.

Gareth: What would you say to yourself when you started your career if you could offer one piece of advice? 

Glynn: Don’t just embrace technology when it lands but actively seek out the latest in the market. Our industry like nearly all others is changing so quickly as new technology lands it’s important to embrace it rather than be left behind. That and try to have a little more fun; enjoy the journey rather than focussing on the end goal. 

Read the Data and Technology issue of Retail Destination here

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