Centrum Chodov in Prague 4 will be rebranded as Westfield Chodov as of September, due the merger of its Dutch and French–based owner Unibail-Rodamco with Australian-based Westfield Corporation.
After renovation in 2017, Centrum Chodov is the largest mall in the Czech Republic, with 300 stores and an 18 hall multiplex cinema, although OC Letňany has a larger overall area.
Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW), as the combined owner is now called, recently announced the Westfield brand would be launched on continental European market. The brand is already present in the UK.
The Chodov mall will become the first Westfield-branded shopping center in the Czech Republic, and will be one of 10 flagship stores in Europe. Seven others will be in France, plus one in Warsaw and one in Stockholm. Two new branded malls are planned for The Hague and Hamburg.
A marketing and advertising campaign, using cinema, TV, print and social media, will be launched in September 2019 to support the introduction of the Westfield brand in all the new markets.
“As the only global brand in the industry, the introduction of Westfield will enhance the value and positioning of our destinations across Continental Europe. Supported by global marketing campaigns, it will make the centers a venue for spectacular events, while delivering significant benefits to our visitors and providing an international platform for retailers to enter new markets,” Christophe Cuvillier, Group CEO of Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield said in a press release. The roll-out of the Westfield brand will continue in 2020 and ’21.
The flagship malls share a number of characteristics, according to URW: they are already recognized destinations, with easy access, distinctive architectural and design features, an optimal mix of retailers, best-inclass customer services, an emotional and experiential dimension, the ability to offer iconic events and entertainment, and a best-in-class approach in terms of corporate social responsibility (CSR).
URW also owns malls in Prague at Zličín and Černý Most, but those are not being rebranded at this time. The mall operator also wants to build another mall near the Vltavská metro station.
Westfield uses big celebrity events to attract people to its malls. Centrum Chodov has also already used this strategy, with an appearance by actor Bill Nighy, a star of the holiday film Love Actually, coming to launch the Christmas shopping season in 2018.
Internationally, Westfield has had artists such as Lady Gaga, Rita Ora, Rihanna and John Legend in its malls in the US and the UK. The malls have also hosted world or European premieres for films such as The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Iron Man 2 and The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Big events will be organized throughout Europe to celebrate the introduction of the Westfield brand, and regularly thereafter, according to the URW press release.
“Westfield is famous for providing outstanding experiences for its visitors, from a very broad range of retailers and high-quality services to concerts and events. As there is a growing trend of customers wanting experiences from physical shopping, now is the perfect time to introduce the Westfield brand across UnibailRodamco-Westfield’s flagship destinations,” the URW press release stated.
Paris-based commercial real estate company Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield is the product of several mergers and acquisitions. French firm Unibail, founded in 1968, and Dutch-based Rodamco Europe, founded in 1999, merged in 2007 to make Unibail-Rodamco. That company merged with the Australian-based shopping mall operator Westfield Corporation, with assets in the US and UK, in June 2018.