Mr. Otto, which characteristics are necessary
for a center manager?

A center manager has to be consistent and be able to react flexibly to widely varying situations and discussion partners – as well as in-house employees, these include the center tenants and also representatives of associates, societies and public authorities. Organisational talent and a level head, even in hectic moments, are also important, but above all team orientation: the center manager has to set an example for his co-workers, and so must be able to pitch in himself. As a doer and a strategist, he has to manoeuvre his center into a leading market position and ensure that it stays there. This cannot be achieved without a vision.

What do you like most about a shopping center?
Having all the shops under one roof. Being able to stroll, whatever the weather, in a bright, safe and clean environment with a friendly service team. A fantastic feel-good atmosphere with fountains, greenery, benches and cafes. Shopping as an experience thanks to an attractive, constantly changing programme of promotions. Visitors can also enjoy uniform opening times for all shops from Monday to Saturday, and cheap parking right in or next to the shopping center.

What is a typical day in the life of a center manager?
There is no such thing as a typical daily routine, but there are a few things that are repeated almost daily. On the bottom is an example from my schedule:

“Your” Phoenix-Center opened at the end of September 2004. What does it offer to visitors?
Everything that I have just mentioned. In addition, we have an optimum sector mix with 110 shops. Our anchor tenants, Sinn Leffers, C&A, H&M, Karstadt Sport, the Minimal supermarket chain and Media Markt, attract a lot of visitors from the surrounding region. In the fashion area we have “hot” retailers such as Esprit, S. Oliver, Tom Tailor, EDC, Cecil, Street one, New Yorker and many more. Our visitors are served by 1,600 parking spaces – these are even free for the first opening hour and every Saturday from 4.00 to 8.00 p.m. The center enjoys excellent connections to motorways and national roads, and is located directly next to the central bus station and the Harburg suburban and inter-city railway stations. It couldn’t be better.

Time Activities

8.30 a.m. Office:

9.20–10.00 a.m.

10.00–12.00 a.m.

12.00–1.00 p.m.

1.00–1.30 p.m.

1.30–3.00 p.m.

3.00–6.00 p.m.

6.00–7.30 p.m.

7.30–8.15 p.m.



overview of schedule of the day, phone calls, e-mails

1st rounds of the center with the building inspector: checking cleanliness, security, lift and escalator operation as well as the technical centers. Are all tenants open? How effective are tenants’ presentation of their goods?

Meeting with tenants (retail clothing
stores; concerning promotions for autumn fashion show)

Deal with post

2nd rounds of the center

Lunch and Preparation for in-house conference presentation

Meeting with the decoration agency:
concept for the next promotions

Meeting with leasing colleagues: sector mix, concepts proposed by new potential tenants, optimisation strategys for tenant mix, analysis of tenant sales situation

3rd rounds of the center: checking
opening times and short meeting on the overnight set-up of the next promotion with the decoration team on site.

Media planning, analysis of customer

How does it go down with the visitors?
We count 25,000 to 30,000 visitors every day. Over the Christmas period it was over 46,000. We have exceeded our forecast catchment area of 562,000. In fact, we reach more than 618,000 people, not counting the Hamburg area north of the Elbe. Business was excellent at Christmas and Easter, and our tenants are extremely satisfied.

What can we expect from the Phoenix-Center in 2005?
In May, the center will be transformed into a huge experimental laboratory. Under the motto “Take a look”, all our visitors and entire school classes can conduct and experience 40 different optical experiments for themselves. Following the huge success of our live fashion shows in spring, we will present the latest fashion trends in autumn on a three-level fashion tower in the mall. We will celebrate our first birthday on 29 September together with our visitors, with numerous competitions and a great birthday programme. It’s going to be spooky in late autumn with our Halloween promotion. We will end the year with our center decorated for Christmas, a Christmas market and a giant advent calendar. Not to mention many other smaller activities in between, such as car exhibitions, presentations of merchandise, presentations by local societies and groups – we have something happening every day.

Many thanks for the conversation and all the best for the future!