For the first time, the approximately 50 shops in the Weberzeile shopping center in Rieder generated more than 76 million euros last year. In terms of sales, this is even at the level before the corona pandemic. “An impressive development”says center manager Christoph Vormair.
OÖN: You have been center manager at Weberzeile for a little over four years. What are your goals?
Christopher Vormair: Regionality is particularly important to me. We do a lot to ensure that the Weberzeile is a central meeting place in Ried. We are more than a shopping center. Together with my team and our shop partners, we do everything we can to inspire our visitors every day and make them feel comfortable with us. Developments over the last few years and the figures from dealers show that our efforts are appreciated and are making themselves felt.
What have been the greatest challenges for you over the past four years?
A lot of new knowledge was needed. Starting with building services, through marketing, to maintaining our business relationships with the individual shop partners, which is so important. It was good that I was able to contribute the experience I already had. It was also very important to me to clearly position the image of Weberzeile to the outside world. Then, in 2020, the corona pandemic suddenly hit. In these two years we have learned that you have to be extremely flexible. At that time, you often had to react to far-reaching decisions and specifications within just a few days.
2022 was the highest-selling year so far for Weberzeile. How is that possible given the economic crisis?
Compared to 2019, there were slightly fewer customers in 2022, but sales were higher. We offer a good mix of shops and see ourselves as local suppliers for the people in the region. In general, one can say that when someone drives into the Weberzeile, they usually buy something. Our tenants are very satisfied with the purchasing power. We are doing very well again this year, both in terms of sales and visitor numbers.
From which catchment area do the customers come to the Weberzeile in Ried?
We have some “natural limits”. In the north it is the town of Schärding, in the east Grieskirchen and in the west Braunau. In the south we share a certain area with the Varena in Vöcklabruck. Most customers are within a radius of up to half an hour. The average length of stay is around one and a half hours.
A press release mentions three million visitors last year. How is this number determined?
The entrances are counted automatically. We are pleased that customers like to come to us and appreciate the offer.
How do the tenants of the Weberzeile deal with the competition from online retail?
Shopping on the Internet has become indispensable, and this was seen even more clearly during the Corona pandemic. However, when I talk to our shop partners, I notice that personal contact has recently become much more important to customers. In addition, consumers want a shopping experience. We can offer that and the special atmosphere.
Are there currently free commercial spaces in the Weberzeile?
We currently only have a small vacancy of 82 square meters on around 21,000 square meters of business space. We always make sure that we can offer a varied and interesting shop mix. Regional suppliers are always welcome too.
On Friday there will be a joint shopping night with Stadtmarketing Ried. What can visitors expect?
There hasn’t been this joint shopping night in the past two years, so we’re all the more looking forward to tomorrow. Under the slogan “experience happiness” the shops in the Weberzeile and the city center are open until 9 p.m., and there will be a very colorful supporting program.