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Hammerson to drive footfall with mobile app

Property firm Hammerson is set to launch an integrated mobile app later this year for use in its shopping centres around the UK.

The app will enable users to search for products, benefit from promotions and find information about shopping centre services. The platform will also be used as a way of boosting customer loyalty, and will be available in a selection of the property firm’s centres in September.

Hammerson’s larger shopping centres include Birmingham’s Bullring and Brent Cross in London, although Essential Retail understands that the mobile technology will be first used at Oracle in Reading and Highcross in Leicester. There are plans to roll out the app to Hammerson’s shopping centres in France in 2014.

The announcement came on Monday, as the property firm reported half-year results which showed that the company has maintained encouraging occupancy levels of 97.4% at its centres in the UK and France. Net rental income was up 2.5% year on year.

Compared to the first half of 2012, retail sales at centres in the UK and France dropped 0.4% and 3.8% respectively. Footfall was down 1.5% and 5.8%, and Hammerson said it will be looking to multichannel initiatives such as the launch of an integrated app to boost these figures in the months ahead.

“Our strategy is to use multichannel initiatives to support our core rental business,” the company said in a statement. “We use digital technologies to drive footfall, improve the customer experience and increase dwell time, all of which support retail sales.”

Free Wi-Fi and mobile-enabled websites were introduced to all of Hammerson’s UK centres last year, while bespoke social media promotional activity is well underway at the individual centres.

Hammerson added: “This has proved highly successful with website visitors and social media followers growing strongly – the latter by 38% year on year.”

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