The new expansion of Ainoa shopping centre in Tapiola has seen an increase of shoppers since it opened on Thursday 24th October.
And despite the revolution in shopping habits with the growth of e-commerce, Ainoa’s management is confident about its future.
“It will be interesting to see what services people want in the future from physical shops and what products will exclusively be bought online. For some, the need for retail space will decrease, and for some, it will increase” says Juha Mäkelä, Manager of Ainoa shopping centre.
It’s been reported in the Finnish media recently that Stockmann department stores face closure if the company’s profitability doesn’t return to previous healthy levels.
Mäkelä doesn’t want to speculate on the impact of closing the Stockmann at Ainoa.
“Stockmann has been in Tapiola for more than 30 years. We have very good cooperation and I believe in the commercial success of Ainoa” he says.
“We made Ainoa big enough, but not big enough. We have retailers that are not in other shopping centres. It’s also easy to get here by public transport or by car. Cafe and restaurant offerings meet the demand of people” says Mäkelä, listing the ways Aino will be able to compete with other shopping centres.
More than 80% of the premises in the new extension have already been leased, and there’s a 98.5% occupancy rate of existing premises.
“It’s better than the average of other shopping centres” Mäkelä boasts.
Integrated transport and new services
When the new Ainoa extension was completed, the final connection from the shopping mall to the new bus terminal was also ready for customers and passengers.
The temporary green corridor next to Lindex was closed, and there’s also now direct access to the shopping centre from both sides of the metro station.
A new ‘Food Garden’ food court opened up on the third floor of the new extension with seven restaurant concepts.
“We mainly have restaurants that don’t exist in Espoo or in other shopping centres such as Bistro o Mat, Madison Gastro & Wine, and Friends & Brgrs.
The Food Garden is also accessible outside of shopping centre opening times, so the restaurants can stay open longer for example on Fridays and Saturdays.
There’s a new location for local brew pub Gallows Bird, and a Nepalese restaurant; with Hangon Makaronitehdas and Classic Pizza open at street level with outdoor terraces as well, for summer use.
The new Ainoa Centre extension has an escalator that goes from the M-level all the way to the third floor, and the toilets are located in the same place on each floor.
Some of the existing stores like H&M, Sand and Peura are moving from the original part of Ainoa to the new extension.
“Negotiations are being held with regards to the spaces they’ll vacate once they move. There are both big and smaller retailers who have been interested in the premises” says Mäkelä.
According to Mäkelä, people come to Ainoa from the Helsinki metropolitan area, but the focus is on Espoo residents.
“The reach extends quite far into the west and Stockmann is certainly an important factor in that” Mäkelä explains.
“We expect a spike in the number of visitors and sales for the rest of the year, as new is always a novelty” he adds.
Ainoa Shopping Centre – Facts
The expansion was built on the site of the former Stockmann department store.
There are currently 30,000 square metres of leasable retail space and 52 stores. With the expansion, the number of leased retail premises will increase to 50,000 square metres and more than a hundred stores.
New stores and restaurants: Annabella, Biang, Bistro O Mat, Burger King, Classic Pizza, Deliberi, DNA, Elisa, Elixia, Emotion, Espoon kaupungin asiointipiste, Espresso House, Fenno-optiikka, Fiilinki, Flying Tiger, Friends & Brgrs, Gallows Bird, Hangon Makaronitehdas, H&M, Itsudemo, Kare Design, Kello ja kulta Pulkkinen, Kicks, K-Market, LN Sushi Art, Madison Gastro & Wine, Momotoko, Peura, Plantagen, Polarn O. Pyret, Rax Pizzabuffet, Ruohonjuuri, Salon Hot Hair, Sand, Shortcut, Specsavers, Suomalainen kirjakauppa, Søstene Grene, Telia, The Body Shop, Timanttiset, Vallila, Zio, Ivana Helsinki.