Monthly, the Mall attracts about 250,000 visitors, and yearly - more than 3.5 million visitors. The most visited stores in Tbilisi Mall are Zara, Bershka, New Yorker, LC Waikiki and Carrefour.
“The Mall is now over 68 percent occupied and we have many negotiations going on with our leasing team; so we are well on target for the Mall being fully occupied,” Gary Dunkley, Tbilisi Mall Director, told The FINANCIAL. “A Koton store will be opening in August 2014; a Family Entertainment Centre - in July; Coffee Bean - July; Basic Shoe Shop - June; Carpisa - July; Nefertiti - July; Times - September; Roccobarocco - August; Bessini - July, and L’Occitane - July,” also in early September a new 5 screen Cinema ,he added.
“I had hoped that 2013 would have seen us much further forward, but we have worked hard for what was achieved since opening in April 2012. I feel that 2014 is going to show our ambition as a world class mall. However, the solvency of Georgian customers has been decreased. The future in my eyes is bright. This year we will be opening some major attractions within the Mall to ensure our customers enjoy their time at Tbilisi Mall and that they are encouraged to return,” said Dunkley.
“At present we have over 100 operators and brands in the Mall. We have another 19 which are leased and signed but are still to be fitted out and opened. The Mall extends over 3 floors and is approaching 68 percent occupied,” he said.
Tbilisi Mall opened on 7 April, 2012, and is the largest retail centre in the South Caucasus region so far.
The Mall won the recognition of 200 experts in Georgia and received a Golden Brand award this year in the category of the “favourite brand of shopping centre” for the second time.
Q. A new Mall is opening up in another part of Tbilisi. Do you think it is the right time for a new mall when the existing one is not yet full?
A. It will only be a matter of time as Tbilisi grows,other developments will come along in an increasing market and I welcome this.
Q. Will the brands which are now open in Tbilisi Mall be opening branches in the new mall as well? Or will it offer completely new brands?
A. I suspect some operators will venture into new developments, however it’s very much down to the brands where they wish to go.
Q. How does the Mall satisfy the volume and expectations of customers?
A. The Mall has a wide range of choice to suit all customers and we are very keen to ensure that Tbilisi Mall is a destination for both our loyal and new customers.
Q. Has the goal of making the Mall a leisure destination been achieved?
A. In my opinion the answer to this question is “No”. I am, however, working very hard with my present team, and with the support of Mr. Guram Tsanava, CEO of Rakia, to achieve our goals and ensure that Tbilisi Mall goes from strength to strength.
Q. In previous interviews you said that: “The final objective will be to focus on entertainment and leisure with the launch of the food court, health clubs, cinema and an exclusive visitor’s entertainment attraction in Tbilisi Mall.” How has this goal been achieved?
A. Yes I did state this and we are well underway to fulfilling those objectives. The cinema will begin trading in September 2014 and the first full-size Children’s Entertainment Centre in Georgia will open mid July 2014.
Q. Tbilisi Mall is often used for different kinds of campaigns like advertisements, Santa’s House at New Year, for charity activities or prize-draws. Why has the Mall become a profitable destination for such kinds of campaigns and what are the statistics of these campaigns?
A. Due to its high footfall, the Mall attracts many companies wishing to promote their brand, as there is nowhere else in Tbilisi where a company can get such high coverage of a product.
The costs for promotions vary depending on the size and location. Our marketing team have rate cards and will discuss all options to establish which best suits the brand wishing to come to the Mall. We have many ways that companies can advertise here at Tbilisi Mall; from kiosk placements, flyers, banners and events to name but a few.
Q. Last year you said that you would win Golden Brand again in following years as well and you did just that this year. So how did Tbilisi Mall manage to become a Golden Brand of 2013?
A. Yes, I made that statement with great conviction. As a European serving in Georgia, what I have both seen and learnt impresses me very much. Tbilisi is a wonderful city and I am very blessed and honoured to be working alongside such dedicated individuals.
I will never accept failure, nor of course become complacent. Both I and my team have a lot of work to do to ensure we can keep being the best mall in Georgia.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those customers who come and visit Tbilisi Mall and I would also like to thank all our tenants for their loyal support. Finally a huge thank you goes to my staff, as at times I drive them very hard and push them sometimes beyond their limits, but they always respond in a positive way and for that I owe them so much and thank them with all my heart.