Deutsche EuroShop currently manages a portfolio of 14 shopping center investments. Management of operational centers is completely outsourced to partners with decades of specialised experience in this business. They guarantee the long-term success of the shopping centers. Which phases does a shopping center pass through before its grand opening? What does a center manager do all day? In this feature you can read about the variety of tasks involved in creating a new shopping center and the broad range of duties performed by center managers.

Shopping center expertise – from planning through to management

Managing one of our centers means much more than just administering a property. Modern center management for buildings with an area of 30,000 m² and more requires retail expertise, real estate experience and marketing skills.

We believe that ECE Projektmanagement, Hamburg, which manages 12 of our 14 shopping centers, offers the most comprehensive expertise in this area. The company currently manages 80 centers (with 13 others in the planning or construction phases) in Germany, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Turkey and most recently also in Qatar. Over the last 40 years it has successfully put the concept of “shopping as an experience” into practice. As an investor in its own right in a large number of properties, the ECE Group manages projects in its portfolio for decades. Unlike many developers, the company is therefore an investor and partner that remains loyal to its locations. As a full-service provider, it is able to implement shopping centers from the initial idea through to the handing over of the keys to the finished property, as well as providing long-term support as a center manager. As the lead planner and project manager, it offers one-stop shopping, and also acts as the construction manager, thus providing genuine project responsibility.

How a shopping center comes into being

A shopping center is not simply born overnight. New centers are created in four project phases – from planning through to operation:

The project development phase begins with research such as site identification and analysis, followed by: schedule planning, developing a utilisation programme and functional planning (entrances, escalators, etc.), the conceptual design of the property, economic feasibility studies, establishing the legal basis for planning permission (property developers and legal experts ensure compliance with all building regulations, so that planning permission can be obtained on time), and contract management.

The financing phase involves calculating investment requirements, preparing financing models and looking for investors. At this stage in the process, initial contact with Deutsche EuroShop may be made. We then review the basic conditions, including investment volume, the size of investment offered and the forecast return. In addition, the functionality of the building’s floor plan, the microlocation, the transport network, the planning situation, information on the occupancy rate, as well as the terms and basic conditions of the rental contracts concluded are also reviewed.

Parallel to this, the interior and exterior architecture is planned as part of the planning and construction phase. While the exterior architecture is concerned with sensitive urban integration, the interior must above all meet the needs of tenants and visitors. This is reflected in the use of high-quality materials as well as the employment of highly specialised lighting planners. In addition, alternative solutions are developed (costs, deadlines, quality), the expected operating costs analysed, external appraisers and specialists consulted, service contracts concluded and the entire project uniformly planned and monitored. At the same time, the leasing department searches for suitable tenants in line with a preplanned detailed mix of sectors and tenants. These tenants mostly contractually secure shop space for themselves at an early stage – based only on the floor plan.

The process concludes with the operating phase, which follows the market launch and is concerned with planning ongoing operating and maintenance costs, concluding service contracts, accounting and financial control, and ongoing marketing and PR activities. From this point on, a team of professionals comprising center managers, leasing specialists, secretarial staff, building inspectors, technicians, car park attendants and security guards guarantees smooth operations in our centers.

What does a center manager actually do?

Let us enter the world of a shopping center: bright and friendly, with granite flooring in the brightly lit passages, with gleaming chrome escalators and elaborate fountains. The entire retail space generally covers between 20,000 and 30,000 m², with one or two anchor tenants, fashion boutiques, successful national and international retail concepts, cafes and restaurants, long-established regional sellers, perhaps a hair salon or a travel agency as well. This is the ultimate “shopping as an experience”, where shopping becomes a leisure activity. A second glance reveals that this shopping center, where over 1,000 people are employed daily, is a small town in itself, a city within a city, that is visited by up to 50,000 people between 9.00 a.m. and 8.00 p.m.

The center manager is the mayor of this small city: he is responsible for ensuring everything runs smoothly. In reality, this means: the optimisation of the sales mix and sector structure, the implementation of marketing measures, management of the car park, heading up the advertising association, maintaining contacts with the state, city, associations and societies, and the media. An entrepreneurial approach, creativity and dedication are demanded daily in this multifaceted career. The ideal candidates for this job are experienced retail managers, such as managing directors of department stores.

The center manager is on the job as long as the shops are open – weekdays, Saturdays, sometimes Sundays as well. After the shops close, he develops ideas for center promotions or marketing, such as unusual displays of goods or special promotions. The events calendar of a shopping center is full to bursting every year. The offering covers everything from spectacular Easter and Christmas decorations, fashion shows, picture and art exhibitions, to kite shows, week-long country shows or informational presentations. The goal is to give the customer the message that: there is always something to see and to discover here, and a new reason to visit every day.













40 years of “shopping as
an experience”













Long "to-do" lists




Review of basic conditions




Search for optimal sector and tenant mix



Smooth operations









Center manager
- a highly
responsible job