ARAM celebrates five successful years at Forum Nová Karolina
ARAM (Active Retail Asset Management) which manages and leases Forum Nová Karolina, the dominant 58,000 sq. m (624,300 sq. ft.) fashion and leisure shopping destination in Ostrava, is celebrating the scheme’s fifth anniversary this month. Sales and footfall have risen on average 10-15% year on year between 2012 and 2016. This has been achieved by:
• Introducing new international brands
• Extending the food and leisure offerings
• Implementing marketing and efficiency initiatives
Forum Nová Karolina opened its doors in March 2012 during one of the deepest global
recessions on record. Jointly owned by Meyer Bergman and Canadian pension fund - Healthcare
of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP), it was one of Europe’s biggest retail openings. Since then, the
scheme has seen continuous improvement.
ARAM has carefully selected retailers and adjusted the tenant zoning within the centre to
enhance customer experience and manage footfall. The centre now clustered retail areas: the first
and ground floors predominately being fashion-led and the second floor dedicated to lifestyle,
services, food and entertainment. This has significantly boosted retailer performance and helped
customers navigate their way around the centre.
Recent signings include Gate, 4F and Columbia. Alongside these, ARAM also brought entirely
new luxury fashion retailers to the region including British brand Barbour with a 66 sq. m (710 sq.
ft.) space and Park Avenue taking 139 sq. m (1,496 sq. ft.) as well as international gifts retailer
Tiger, which opened a 317 sq. m (3,412 sq. ft.) store.
In response to customer demand, ARAM has upsized several of its best performing stores within
the scheme including Lindex, which moved from a 551 sq. m (5,930 sq. ft.) unit to a 833 sq. m
(8,966 sq. ft.) store and Terranova, that upsized to from 385 sq. m (4,144 sq. ft.) to 746 sq. m,
(8,029 sq. ft.).
Lenka Matthews, Leasing Director commented: “Forum Nová Karolina is a star performer for us,
with 67 lease renewals and 13 new retailers in 2016 alone, creating an ever-evolving tenant
mix. This shows not only that the Czech retail market is benefitting from a growing economy but
the total renewals over the last 18 months demonstrates retailer confidence in the scheme. We
are currently in negotiations for several leasing changes for 2017 and look forward to
announcing these soon.”
Aneta Hoffmannová, PR Director at Vermont Group commented: “We initially had our Gant brand
here, which has routinely achieved high sales and footfall since 2012. The brand performed so
well, and built up such a loyal following in Forum Nová Karolina, that we are now introducing
Barbour into the scheme. We are very confident about the shopping centre, and look forward to
what the next five years will bring.”
Further to the enlarged fashion mix, ARAM has also capitalised on the increased leisure, food
and beverage (F&B) trend across Europe, by expanding Forum Nová Karolina’s F&B areas to
take over 7% of the centre’s total floor space - a total of 3,939 sq. m (42,399 sq. ft.). The diversity
of the offering was improved and bolstered further by new food brands including UGO Salaterie, a
healthy on-trend Czech dining concept which opened a 328 sq m (3,530 sq. ft.) restaurant, and
Spice Box - the first Indian restaurant within Czech Republic - which signed up to a 187 sq m
(2,012 sq. ft.) unit on the 2nd floor.
Alena Hegnerova, Head of Marketing at UGO Salaterie commented “Since opening in August
2016 we have had a phenomenal response from our customers. We have consistently grown in
footfall over the past 6 months, and this store is without doubt one of the best performers within
The continued success of the scheme has been supported by the popularity of key marketing
events which on average drives footfall up by 15-25%. Such events include Oktobeerfest – the
centre’s very own annual beer and music festival attracting over 45,000 people over two-days,
and family friendly Marianne Days and Art of Light festival that includes late night shopping with
many retailers reporting up to 150% increase in sales during the event.
Another element that has had a significant impact is ARAM’s strong commitment to cost savings
and affordable service charge levels, many of which that are lower than the average within the
Czech retail market. This has been achieved through initiatives including reducing the heating
and cooling costs by 10% in 2016, replacing the car park lighting to a lower energy consumption
system, environmentally friendlier cleaning of the air ducts and increasing recycling at the centre
up to an impressive 80% of the 600 tonnes of waste produced every year.
Michal Mariánek, Deputy Mayor of Ostrava Council said: “I appreciate that ARAM does not only
focus on commercial aspects for Forum Nová Karolina, but is also significantly active with
corporate social responsibility initiatives. Their marketing activities at the centre involve a variety
of non-profit, charitable and educational organisations, and ARAM has continuously been
cooperating with local organisations in the city. In the past five years, Forum Nová Karolina has
made its mark supporting various institutions contribute to the enrichment of cultural and social
life in Ostrava. I would like to sincerely congratulate Forum Nová Karolina on its fifth