The Innesco lunchtime update from BCSC Conference 2010 – Tues
Retail property professionals descended on Manchester last night and this morning for the annual BCSC Conference. The Innesco team arrived early, primed for a restrained evening of catching up with agents, retailers, developers and journalists. Conclusion: the worst, the industry tentatively believes, is behind us.
As Neil Varnham, BCSC President, confirmed this morning in his opening address, attendance numbers are up this year – by 300 to 2,500. And despite the still challenging economic context in which we all operate, there was a quiet confidence in evidence today on the stands and in the conference hall. The champagne may not yet have returned, but Manchester Central is definitely alive with the buzz of deals being done.
This year BCSC has been focusing on the critical issue of performance in the current climate and how to maximise the value of existing assets. Neil Varnham stressed the importance today of taking bold decisions on asset management, focusing on improving the overall retail experience in order to bring people back to Britain’s high streets in an age where they demand more and can spend less. It’s fitting therefore that the first session this afternoon features Mike Riddell of I-AM, who are trialling a groundbreaking rewards-based loyalty platform in Wigan that meets Varnham’s challenges.
BCSC has always been responsive to its membership and its conference is a worthy highlight of the Innesco team’s year. And this morning it was announced that next year’s conference would be brought forward to September, following feedback from members that an earlier gathering would more effectively facilitate deal making. March 2011’s Retail Connections event will be held too in collaboration with ICSC, BCSC’s international sister organisation – a demonstration of the BCSC leadership’s desire to constantly push the boundaries of the organisation’s relevance and effectiveness.
As delegates return to the hall, and conference bars restocked for the evening, thoughts turn to the more immediate challenge facing Manchester’s temporary visitors: securing tickets to the LandSec party…
Kevin McKeever, Associate Director