The winners of the 2020 SCEPTRE Awards, recognising best people and best practice in the retail destination industry, have been announced. In a virtual awards ceremony hosted by BBCTV’s Alan Dedicoat on Thursday 26th November, awards were announced in 20 categories covering all aspects of the management and operation of successful retail destinations.

Graham Parker, chair of the judging panel and editor of Retail Destination, said: “In an unprecedented year that has seen non-essential shops closed for long periods and social distancing measures imposed throughout the malls, management teams at retail destinations across the UK and Ireland have gone above and beyond to ensure that their centres remain a safe and attractive place to visit.”

The judging panel of industry experts were impressed by the quality of entries across the board, many of which showed true innovation in very difficult circumstances. We are delighted to share with you our 2020 SCEPTRE Awards winners. 




CBRE won this year’s points table by a very comfortable margin with its entries showing operational excellence across the board. The shopping centre management operation is led by Carolyn Mantle and the judges said: “Carolyn has always led and driven her centre management teams. I have always admired her feistiness and her ability to get the absolute best from her teams. She has contributed so much to so many and has had a positive impact within the industry.”



All Ireland Manager of the Year

Ian Hunter from Swords Pavilions

With the Irish economy facing the challenge of Brexit, Ian Hunter’s team focused on delivering an attractive and safe centre, with engaging events and new retailers to enhance the mix. Footfall rose 0.3% year-on-year while dwell time was up 4.1%, driving sales up by 0.3%. Remarkably, the centre had zero voids at the end of 2019 after 10 new lettings and five renewals.

The judges said: “ An impressive set of results across the board with significant increases.  The centre is well engaged in the local community.”


Christmas Campaign of the Year

Royal Albert Dock in Liverpool

As a UNESCO World Heritage site, Royal Albert Dock is popular with tourists, but the team used the Christmas campaign to re-engage with local shoppers. Attractions including an outdoor floating cinema using the centre’s pontoons and an outdoor lighting scheme drove an increase in footfall of 17.7% on the previous November and December.

The judges said: “The emotive concept linked to love and colour was executed in a very innovative, on-trend, way. An excellent set of results, particularly impressive sales and participation numbers.”


Commercialisation Innovation Award

St Johns Liverpool / Shoppertainment

Shoppertainment brokered an innovative partnership between Radio City, SP Energy Networks and St John’s shopping centre Liverpool that saw the 425ft-high St Johns Beacon bathed in dramatic green light, a spectacle that could be seen for miles around and became a talking point for Liverpudlians and visitors alike. 

The judges said: “Visually impactful, creating a good talking point. It was a great idea to monetise the unique beacon.” And: “A different form of income generation, and a nice use of assets. I can see this growing.”


Community Initiative of the Year

Galleries Shopping Centre

Many centres claim to be at the heart of their community, but the Galleries physically and strategically embodies that role. Last year the town’s foodbank was threatened with closure when it lost its premises, but the centre stepped in to welcome the project and giving it a prominent location that has raised its profile with shoppers, retailers and funding bodies. 

The judges said: “A simple idea but the execution and the desire to reduce stigma made it just stand out.” And: “A great subject and delivery with a stand-out positive impact.”


Customer Services Team OF THE YEAR

Gunwharf Quays

Already highly regarded for its customer service, Gunwharf Quays has embarked on a journey to make the centre more accessible to guests with disabilities. The Hidden Disability lanyard identifies those requiring additional assistance, while the Social Stories service helps those guests with autism wanting a personalised visit. And the new website, supported by ReCite Me, is accessible to those with visual impairments and learning difficulties.

The judges said: “The top-down approach to customer service makes a real difference.” And: “Using focus groups was a clever idea that led to a well-thought-through customer service strategy. It is clear that they are constantly reviewing and striving to be the best.”


Energy Management Award

Centre mk

Centre MK achieved a 15% reduction in landlord-controlled carbon emissions and reduced gas consumption by 57% by optimising air-handling units and analysing meter data monthly to identify potential savings. New meters, replacement lighting and the introduction of PIR sensors has also driven down electricity usage by 45%.

The judges said: “the Centre had an ‘all round’ approach to sustainability, demonstrating impressive reduction in gas consumption.” And “a range of initiatives that were well benchmarked.”


Mall Technology Innovation of the year

My FP, Festival Place

Festival Place’s roll-out of the Mallcomm retailer engagement app, branded as My FP, was hugely successful with 98% retailers onboard withing two days of launch and 1,800 employees on the app within a month. The employee incentive scheme, FP Perks, was used over 15,000 times in three months.

The judges said: “A very successful onboarding. The scheme demonstrated an increase in revenue, with a 78% uplift in car parking passes sold, and also achieved savings of £20,000, to the benefit of the tenants, through reduced office costs.”


Manager of the Year Large Centre

David McNee from The Galleries in Tyne & Wear

The past year has seen a standout performance by David and his team at the Galleries with footfall up 3% year-on-year, retail voids of just 1%, and an 11% saving on service charge. Community engagement is at the heart of David’s strategy and he has worked with a local domestic violence charity and an initiative to prevent teenage suicide as well as offering a home to the town’s food bank.

The judges said: “David is tenant focussed but has found the right balance to deliver significant support for the local community.” And: “The centre is at the heart of its community and it is clear that David has led his team to help meet the needs of the community.”


Manager of the Year Medium Centre

Rebecca Bird from The Mall Walthamstow

Few centres ever have to face a crisis as dramatic as the fire that destroyed a substantial part of the Mall Walthamstow in July 2019. It changed the direction of the centre and Rebecca’s role overnight.  She has led her team to develop and then execute a strategic recovery plan that led to the fast-track return of the Mall to business operations. She successfully mitigated the loss of rental income and the financial losses to all the impacted businesses.

The judges said: “Rebecca overcame great adversity after the fire to deliver a really commendable turnaround tale.” And: “An amazing management journey in the wake of the fire. An outstanding effort.”


Manager of the Year Small Centre

Sue Anderson Brown from the Brunswick Centre in Scarborough

Sue Anderson Brown has been at the helm of the Brunswick Centre since January 2019. During this time, she has applied her shopping centre management experience and leadership skills, transforming this small unremarkable, somewhat jaded centre into a vibrant, successful scheme for the client and Scarborough town centre. Footfall saw double-digit year-on-year growth and retailers reported positive sales growth. Sue has built stakeholder and operator relationships and cemented Brunswick as the town’s community hub.

The judges said: “Sue has demonstrated successful community engagement  and impressive service charge savings in a relatively new role.” And: “Sue demonstrates drive and passion to get things done.”


Marketing Manager of the Year

Richard Jones from The Mall Walthamstow

Richard’s proactive and dedicated approach can be seen in his collaboration work with the first London Borough of Culture, which led to several innovative events. Working alongside events such as Arts Night saw community engagement numbers increase while revitalising the retail mix of the mall. Long term benefits include increased online engagement and an uplift in footfall.

The judges said: “Thinking outside the box has achieved and delivered results.  Richard is personally and emotionally involved which has resulted in some very beneficial, yet fun and creative campaigns.”


Operations Manager of the Year

Sean Sweeney from Gunwharf Quays

Sean Sweeney has turned Gunwharf Quays into a centre of excellence within the Landsec portfolio, improving environmental performance, using new technology to drive down crime and creating a well-maintained and welcoming destination.

The judges said: “A great all-rounder” and “Gunwharf Quays is a very diverse scheme incorporating a wide range of uses, and its seafront location presents operational and management challenges. Sean has displayed the technical skills to stay on top of this complex project.”


SCEPTRE Outstanding Contribution Award

Mark Robinson from Ellandi

Mark Robinson, co-founder of asset manager Ellandi, has driven the company to new heights, growing its portfolio by 40% as it took over the operation of two former intu centres. But at the same time, he retains a public role as a voice for reform in what can be a very conservative industry. After a gruelling year as President of Revo many might be looking to take a rest. But Mark has immediately stepped into another high-profile role as chair of the High Street Task Force.

The judges said: “Without doubt the flag bearer and cheerleader for doing great things in the industry.”


Parking Innovation of the Year

HUB Parking Technology

HUB Parking introduced its Park Assist technology at Westfield London. Using a proprietary smart-sensor system and LED lights it monitors parking bays and easily guides customers to empty spaces, taking the work and worry out of parking. It facilitates a frictionless path from entry to exit and increases efficiency for both the customer and the car park operations team.


Retail Liaison Award

Nicola O’Driscoll from St Johns Shopping Centre, Liverpool

Since joining St Johns in March 2019 Nicola has increased tenant engagement, upskilled tenants and store workers and pioneered new initiatives and marketing campaigns. A dedicated campaign for the centre’s independent retailers led to a 56% increase in sales and major media coverage.

The judges said: “The initiative to upskill the tenants has really paid off for a centre with a large percentage of independent tenants.  They really are the glue that holds the centre together, as demonstrated by the results achieved.”


Security Team of the Year

Ayr Central Shopping Centre

The security team at Ayr Central have taken on responsibility for more than just security, they have become the public face of the centre. They are the primary contact for occupiers, welcome hosts and brand ambassadors.

The judges said: “Good entry backed by testimonials with a clear tenant focus.” And: “Real team engagement and good testimonials.”


Short Term Retailer of the Year

Short Term Retailer of the Year

Chapel Down, England’s leading wine producer, has operated a Christmas pop-up at Bluewater since 2017 but last year it took the concept to a new level with a store design that highlighted the brand’s heritage to create consumer connection. The store smashed all previous records generating almost £400,000 in sales over a six-week period, 100% up on 2017.

The judges said: “The execution has moved with the times and trends to achieve impressive results that benefit both the retailer and the scheme.”


Waste Management Award

St Johns Shopping Centre in Liverpool

St Johns has successfully built on its already strong environmental performance by increasing the number of waste streams that can be recycled, reducing its overall carbon footprint and driving down waste disposal costs. Such has been the success of the initiative that it has been rolled out across six other centres in the InfraRed portfolio.

The judges said: “It demonstrates some innovative approaches such as upcycling and the use of leftover paint from shop fits in the community.” And: “The upcycling concept is visionary.”


Young Achiever of the Year

Samantha Robinson from Ladysmith Shopping Centre

Despite only being in post for two years Samantha’s engaging and hands-on approach has delivered some outstanding results, improving footfall and raising the perception of the centre from a run-down scheme to a bright and vibrant place to shop.

The judges said: “Her clear vision to revive and improve all aspects of the centre is inspiring for someone so young.” And: “her willingness to take on a wider role stands out.”