The Shopping Centre industry is driven by people. It’s the skills and expertise of the people that manage, develop and evolve shopping centres for their communities that creates this great industry. Shopping Centre News profiles a range of interesting people from the industry each week. This week we speak to Ben Hughes, National Marketing and Business Manager at Dexus. Dexus is one of Australia’s leading real estate groups, managing a high quality Australian property portfolio valued at $26.5 billion. A leader in workplace wellness and office design, Dexus is also a driving force in retail.
What is your current role and main responsibilities?
National Marketing and Business Manager for the $5.8 billion Dexus retail portfolio. Leading the retail marketing and digital strategies. In addition, driving the overall retail strategy forward for the business.
How did you get in to this industry?
I was very fortunate to secure a role as a Marketing Assistant at a shopping centre in Western Sydney. This entry level role was an excellent foundation for my career in the industry that now spans over 18 years.
Tell us a little bit about your career?
I have worked with some leading property groups from QIC, Lendlease, The GPT Group and now Dexus. Throughout my career I have always had a can-do attitude and this has opened up many opportunities for myself working in a wide range of roles covering marketing, casual leasing, retail management and development.
What has been your hardest career decision?
To leave an organisation I really enjoyed working for.
What do you love most about your job?
The amazing variety that working in retail brings every day. One minute leading a team, next finalising a national community campaign designed to make a difference to working on a major development that is truly changing a community for the better for generations to come.
What do you think makes a successful shopping centre?
A shopping centre that knows its place in the market, one that connects people to a meaningful place environment that meets and exceeds their expectations.
Which in your opinion is the best example of a good shopping centre, retail precinct or place?
Santa Caterina Market in Barcelona, Spain. A stunning array of food experiences with community at its absolute heart in an incredible setting.
What are some of the trends you are seeing in the industry?
A big shift from just buying things to now experiencing things through the power of personalisation. There is also a real groundswell of support for local community experiences, a sense of civic participation and pride.
What advice would you give to someone starting in the industry?
Be open to changing roles and always keep learning.
What motivates you?
Seeing retail destinations evolve and grow to remain relevant for the future.
What do you do in your leisure time to de-stress?
Get off all digital devices and reconnect with family and friends.
Favourite retailer in the world?
Eataly. One big immersive experience.