[Feature] Revolutionising shopping centres: #2- Towards unique living spaces.

[Dossier] Les centres commerciaux font leur révolution : #2 - Vers des lieux de vie exceptionnels.

L’Atoll, Angers – Beaucouzé @ Compagnie de Phalsbourg

Pushing the concept of the shopping centre beyond the simple place to shop, Philippe Journo aims to make the exceptional more accessible. For him, the future of these commercial sites lies in the experiential, the beautiful, the sustainable, and the digital.

For Philippe Journo, Chairman and Founder of Compagnie de Phalsbourg, the future of shopping centres must meet four fundamental criteria: architecture, sustainability, digital technology and consumer well-being. “These four elements must not just be of a satisfactory standard, but must aim for excellence”, he asserts. That’s why he systematically designs all his sites to be as aesthetically pleasing as possible.

His philosophy: it’s through “beauty” that you attract, that you surprise, and it’s through well-being that you bring people together.

This approach does not, however, overlook the sustainability aspect, which is crucial to the future of shopping centres. “We continue to go well beyond the standards imposed in this area”, says Philippe Journo. He adds: “For the Atoll in Angers, we developed a rainwater recovery system to meet the watering needs of the site’s plants and 12 years ago we installed waterless urinals. This is an innovation that should become widespread in the future.” Compagnie de Phalsbourg is also making the transition to electric power and energy autonomy, with the deployment of 1,000 recharging stations and 100,000 photovoltaic panels by 2024.


“The sales figures will be there, provided that the efforts invested in the points of sale are sustained.”


“For the past five years, we have been developing a great deal of innovation and testing, always with the aim of achieving the exceptional in our four founding pillars”, insists Philippe Journo. That’s why, in 2019, he has decided to set up an organic educational farm in his Ma Petite Madelaine shopping centre in Chambray-lès-Tours.

Other experiments are being carried out and proposed in outlets, Retails Parks and shopping centres, such as showcases, sound and light shows, the organisation of garage sales, etc.

Innovation is also to be found on the digital, or rather phygital, side, where retailers could be bolder, according to Philippe Journo. “Retailers have sometimes abandoned their physical shops in favour of e-commerce, forgetting that they generate margins. It’s sometimes difficult to bring them fully into the phygital era”, he regrets. However, he is adamant that the sales figures will be there, provided that the efforts invested in the points of sale are sustained.

For Philippe Journo, while shopping centres have a role to play in satisfying the consumers of tomorrow, the same applies to tenants. “Our relationships must be based on partnership”, he says. At The Village outlet in Lyon, for example, customers can log on to the brands’ e-shop sites from the comfort of their own homes to buy products online from the shops on the Lyon site.


Centres commerciaux : Mon grand plaisir à Plaisir, dans les Yvelines

Mon Grand Plaisir, in Plaisir. © Compagnie de Phalsbourg


“The aim is to reduce the carbon footprint of our shopping centres by 55% by 2025.”


Another example of a promising partnership, according to Philippe Journo, is the joint commitment to sustainable development and reducing the carbon footprint of shopping centres.

“The aim is to reduce the carbon footprint of our shopping centres by 55% by 2025. To achieve this, we have drawn up a charter covering our 10 main sites, setting out 20 commitments on our part, and a further 15 on the part of our partners. 92% of the 350 retailers involved have adopted these commitments”, explains the founder and chairman.

In practical terms, this involves Compagnie de Phalsbourg and its retail tenants reducing or even eliminating the use of certain electrical equipment (lighting, screens, heating/ventilation systems, etc.) outside peak hours, limiting and then banning the use of single-use plastic, maximising the use of greenery and providing composting points. “The future of shopping centres lies in each of these initiatives. The challenge now is to organise their deployment on a larger scale”, concludes Philippe Journo.

This article features in the book “Retailing the future”, which explores the unprecedented revolution taking place in the retail sector.

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