Ladies Day 2016

Ladies Day 2016

Join us for a fun filled Ladies Day on Friday 14th October! We will meet at 10.00 am at Castlecourt Shopping Centre in Belfast before heading off to the Cookery School, followed by a trip to the Ulster Museum, some retail therapy at Victoria Square where you can maybe sneak in some Christmas Shopping, and then we will finish off the day with a delicious evening meal.

To book a place simply email Theresa Murray at The charge is just £40 pp for this fantastic event. We look forward to seeing you there ladies!

All Ireland Shopping Centre Conference 2016

All Ireland Shopping Centre Conference 2016

The tenth All Ireland Shopping Centre Conference takes place on Tuesday 27th September 2016 and is entitled “It’s all about the Experience“.

A team of talented and engaging speakers has been assembled to bring their experiences to you, including Peter Forester FRICS, chairman of the RICS service charge steering group and lead author of the RICS Code of Practice for Service Charges in Commercial Property; Laurence D’Arcy, Director of AIM Listed PLC, providing a leading mobile platform solution to many blue chip companies in the UK and Ireland; Alf Dunbar, top performance coach within the Customer Service Industry today and The Original Rogue Trader Nick Leeson whose unchecked risk taking caused the biggest financial scandal of the 20th century!

In addition to the fantastic line-up of speakers there will be a full trade exhibition with exhibitors from across the UK and Ireland, great food, competitions and excellent opportunities for networking with colleagues from across the industry.

We look forward to seeing you all at the beautiful Slieve Russell Hotel in County Cavan for what promises to be an engaging and interesting day.

Booking your delegate place online could not be easier, just visit and click on ‘Book Now’. Hotel accommodation can be booked directly with the Slieve Russell Hotel, contact details are on the All Ireland Shopping Centre Conference 2016 website.

NIRSC Study Tour 2015: Exceeding Expectations

NIRSC Study Tour 2015: Exceeding Expectations

In October 2015, the NIRSC had its first Study Tour since 2007,and it was back across the pond to the Sunshine State of Florida this time.

The purpose of the 2015 study tour was to visit various retail destinations and to meet management staff from some of the world’s largest shopping malls to see first-hand how they successfully provide a quality experience for their customers. Marketing and social media practices were also on the agenda. With the huge resurgence on Florida’s ‘International Drive’ over the past ten years, it was the obvious place for the study tour.

The tour lasted five days, departing Belfast on Monday 5th October, arriving at the Embassy Suites on Monday evening in time to meet our hosts Linda and Jim Dougherty of The Dougherty Group for a light welcome dinner and refreshments.

The next day was ‘The Education day’ and it all started at 8am in the hotel conference room. Guest speakers included David Vallillo and Maria Triscari President and CEO of I Drive Chamber of Commerce, as well as a varied mix speakers from all areas of the industry, giving insights into the American approach to design, leasing, marketing , social media and customer service. Perhaps the stand out content was that of the customer service presentation from the Rosen School of Hospitality, which will undoubtedly inspire us to deliver concierge style service in our schemes.

Late Monday afternoon we were transferred to Downtown Disney, soon to be known as ‘Disney Springs’ to meet the Marketing Director for a very informative talk and presentation on the future development of the site. In 2013, plans were announced for a multi-year renovation, which will be completed by 2016. On September 29, 2015, the name officially changed from Downtown Disney to Disney Springs.

Day’s two, three and four comprised of visits to a diverse combination of retail locations; Florida Mall, Mall of Millennia, Oviedo Mall, Artegon Marketplace, Pointe Orlando and Vineland Premium Outlet Mall. The variety of schemes incorporated into the study tour was excellent with many tips picked up along the way.

We were fortunate to be greeted by the management team of all the malls we visited, tours were very informative and their presentations on marketing and social media strategies enlightening. Although the super malls are prospering with virtually 100% occupancy and inspired by some of the levels of guests facilities, food courts and tenant fit outs, the more relevant issues facing the lesser malls were every bit as interesting and perhaps more pertinent. To hear of the challenges they have experienced in an ever changing economy and how they have been addressed, be that the demise of department stores or their location away from International Drive, was fascinating.

Florida Mall’s successful family attraction The Crayola Experience is a prime example of utilising a large vacant unit, designed to be a full day of hands-on creative play. The smaller Oveido Mall outside I-Drive’s catchment area is facing many of the challenges we have encountered ourselves in recent years with the increasing number of voids. They have transformed an empty 28,000 sq ft unit into an impressive preschool and afterschool care area offering education and enrichment programs for all children from 0 to 13 years old, this was the insight of an Edutainment Company called O2B. Oveido also utilised a large vacant unit as a community centre for non-profit use.

The new Artegon Marketplace is a $70 million redevelopment of the failed Festival Bay Mall, which is a little difficult to define. With it’s walls is a mixture of small box units, the operators of which all have an artisanal flair, selling handcrafted goods and food. Still in its infancy, it demonstrated an alternative to the typical mall experiences we have grown accustomed to.

Cameo visits to world renowned retailers such as Whole Foods, Trader Joes and Tommy Hilfiger to learn from, and experience, their emphasis on customer service ethos were insightful, offering points of differentiation.

On the final day the group set off for the journey home having visited Premium Outlet Mall. On reaching Orlando Airport we were informed that the flight was delayed due to adverse weather at Newark Airport. Consequently when we arrived at Newark Airport our connecting flight to Belfast International left without us. Our next flight was 24 hours later. Thanks to Peter Murray and Brendan McAreavey, accommodation for 20 people was arranged and we all arrived in our hotel at 1 around 1 am, tired and in need of a bed for the night. The next day however was a pleasant, fuss free, day which the delegates could spend as they pleased. Most of them decided to have a trip to Downtown Manhattan.

This was the first NIRSC study tour in eight years, reflecting the challenges of the local industry in the intervening period. For those who participated in previous tours the general consensus was this was the most relevant, varied and insightful tour yet, reflecting the organisers’ ambitions to deliver value for money alongside experiencing inspirational insights to help raise the bar in terms of our own shopping centre industry. Malls vary greatly on their strategy for marketing and utilising social media platforms, some things we do better at home but hopefully all of us will have brought something back to improve their marketing strategy and customer service excellence within their company.

Shopping malls and outlets on I-Drive are spoilt by an ever increasing economy, driven by tourism, especially from Brazil. They are definitely feeling sunnier than us here in Northern Ireland. Over the past ten years International Drive has grown tremendously, for example, a 400-foot-tall observation wheel is dwarfing a collection of new shops and restaurants. A few blocks north redevelopment continues on Disney Springs which is almost doubling its size and the Artegon Marketplace has replaced the failed Festival Bay Mall. These projects represent half a billion dollars in spending and the most explosive burst of activity along I-Drive in more than a decade.

One thing all delegates agreed on about the study tour, it definitely Exceeded their Expectations!

NIRSC Conference 2014

NIRSC Conference 2014

NIRSC Conference Information 2014

NIRSC Conference Information 2014

The Shopping Centre industry – working hand in hand with corporate services – is a very strong and integral part of the Northern Ireland economy. Continuing the theme of “Taking Care of Business”, the 2014 Conference is a positive focus on how Shopping Centre Management, Agents, Service Providers, Contractors and Suppliers have all adapted to change over the past few years.

Conference Letter

Conference Programme

Register Online

Conference Fees:

Members £40 plus VAT

Non-Members £60 plus VAT



The first 2014 NIRSC Golf match took place at Shandon Country Golf club on Thursday 19 June, we had brilliant weather and I believe everyone had a very good day’s golf.  I would like to thank our sponsors Electro Automation and Lockton Company for making the day, without their sponsorship, we could not have held such a resoundingly successful event.

Thank you to all that took time off their busy schedule and well done the winners:

  • 1st Chris Nelmes
  • 2nd Martin Cavanagh and Brian Hughes
  • 3rd Tom Snoddon
  • Non GUI Ken O’Neill
  • 1st Lady Wendy Graham
  • Best Team Electro Automation 2
  • Longest Drive Jonathon McBride
  • Nearest the Pin Andrew Given

Remember the next NIRSC Golf match is at Dufferin Park, Clandeboye.

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Ahoy There!

 The NIRSC is pleased to announce that the 2014 AGM will be held on board

 SS Nomadic


Friday 20th June 2014


10am and 3pm.

Please keep this time and date free in order to attend what will be an informative and entertaining AGM in an exciting venue.


10.00am                        Registration  – Including  breakfast baps with tea/coffee 

10.45am                        Annual General Meeting in The Engine Room 

11.30am                        Guided Tours of SS Nomadic 

12.30pm                        Lunch 

2.00pm                        “Future Proofing Your Centre, The Customer Way”

                                     A presentation by Mark Bradley from The Fan Experience Company 

3.00pm                        Close


Mark Bradley Director of The Fan Experience – “Future Proofing Your Centre, The Customer Way”

Mark takes his cue from experience driven businesses across a number of sectors, including sports, retail, tourism and social enterprise, to explore how centres of any size can project their personality more effectively, innovate within the customer experience and secure future custom.

Mark is a consultant, writer and business speaker with a talent for bringing the customer experience vividly to life.

Mark’s unique customer service travelogues Inconvenience Stores and Retails of the Unexpected expose the poverty of UK service through his own experiences, while his engaging, detail-rich and story-telling approach has brought him popularity on the speaking circuit, either as a keynote speaker, formal business presenter or after dinner entertainer.  A formal lead assessor for the Unisys/Management Today Service Excellence Awards, Mark’s philosophy is based on the simple premise of using real customer experiences as a catalyst for change.  This led him to create The Fan Experience Company, which helps sports clubs (especially in football) grow attendances and loyalty through consultation and engagement Mark also works with organisations such as academica, charity retail and the cop operative movement where, like sport, the customer relationship is different.

Step back in time to the great age of transatlantic travel and come aboard the SS Nomadic, the mini Titanic!

SS Nomadic is most famous for the part she played in the Titanic story, but this was only the beginning of her extraordinary journey that stretches over 100 years. Restored to her original 1911 glory and back home in Belfast, a visit to SS Nomadic & Hamilton Dock combines the authentic heritage and atmosphere of this historic ship with the intriguing stories of her passengers and the ups and downs of her dramatic career.

Stretched over four decks a visit to Nomadic allows you to experience first hand what it was like to be a passenger boarding Titanic on her fateful maiden voyage, to marvel at the intricate details and the contrasts between the separated class areas on board.

Presentation to Stormont

Presentation to Stormont

The NIRSC is pleased to announce the first of its 2014 programme of events, which will be held on Tuesday 11th February at Stormont Parliament Buildings, hosted by the Northern Ireland Assembly Busines Trust.

A buffet lunch in the Long Gallery will be provided – to which MLA NIABT Board Members and Members of the Assembly Finance and Planning Committees will be invited – followed by presentations about how the Northern Ireland Assembly works and the work of the Northern Ireland Assembly Business Trust.

Delegates will then be escorted into the Public Gallery for the Environment Minister’s Question Time, followed by a Tour of the Great Hall. The afternoon will be rounded off with attending the Environment Minister’s NIABT Planning Policy Briefing in the Long Gallery. At this presentation, there will be an opportunity for Delegates to put questions to the Minister.

Please put this date into your diary so you don’t miss what will be an exciting and topical event!

A formal invitation with further details will be issued  shortly.

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NIRSC 2012 AGM at Titanic Belfast

Over 60 members of the NIRSC attended this year’s AGM in Belfast’s Titanic Signature Building. Guests were welcomed with a warm tea/coffee (not that it was needed as the sun was shining over Belfast that morning) and a delicious selection of home-made biscuits.

Date: Friday 1st June 2012

Over 60 members of the NIRSC attended this year’s AGM in Belfast’s Titanic Signature Building. Guests were welcomed with a warm tea/coffee (not that it was needed as the sun was shining over Belfast that morning) and a delicious selection of home-made biscuits.

The business of the AGM then took place, with the old committee members stepping down and the new officers and executive committee members being voted in. Leona Barr (Junction 1) was elected as the new Chair, with Clodagh Grimes (Westwood Centre) elected as Vice-Chair, Chris Newton re-elected as Secretary and Ruth Lindsay elected into the position of Treasurer. New committee members Bobby Nicholson (Richmond Centre), Colette Lynas (Tower Centre) and Chris Nelmes (The Outlet) joined the team which consists of Peter Murray (Buttercrane), Theresa Murray (Castlemall), Paul McMahon (Castlecourt), Tracey Jackson (High St Mall), John Jones (Kennedy Centre) and Karen Marshall (Bow St Mall).

Sadly the committee bade farewell to two members, Adrian Young (who has left Forestside and is now manager at Fosse Park in England) and long serving committee member, David Brewerton, of The Mall, Armagh, who is retiring.

David was presented with gifts from both the NIRSC and also his colleagues in the South of Ireland Shopping Centre Association. John Brophy made the trip to Belfast on behalf of the Association to present David with his gifts, including a Manchester City scarf (they are both life-long supporters!).

Following the business of the AGM, the members had a group photograph taken on THAT staircase, after which they took the ‘Titanic Experience’ tour of the new Titanic building (which was fabulous, but left some feeling a bit sea-sick!).

The day ended with a delicious lunch, and some of David’s farewell cake. We are happy to announce that David has been nominated to be an Honorary Member of the NIRSC and we hope to see him at some of our forthcoming events.
All in all it was a great event, and we hope to see you all at the next one!