If we are to believe the picture being painted by the media, the threats to trade in physical stores are many. But that is not the case in Herning, where a sense of optimism and business is flourishing.
Kim Lauritsen, herningCentret (l.) og Allan Kristensen, Herning City (r.)
To start with, there is no shortage of stores here. Herning has over 300 retail outlets and places to eat. Therefore, two of Herning’s most prominent figures in the retail business, have no doubts about Herning’s retail. Herning is the leading commercial city in Central Jutland, with two natural gathering points - herningCentret and the City.
“We complement each other extremely well. There is something for everybody in Herning”, says the manager of herningCentret, Kim Lauritsen. With 80 shops, 11 restaurants, free parking and Sunday trading, he experiences a great deal of foot traffic from all over the region, and also from tourists.
He is also joined by the head of the association for Herning City, Allan Kristensen: “I am often asked if I am sick of the competition from herningCentret. But no, I am not. I think that we are doing something good together that can bring in more people,” he says.
More experiences in the future
When it comes to the topic of the future of retail, the gloomy predictions seem endless. Both Allan Kristensen and Kim Lauritsen agree that work needs to be done on taking the physical store to the next level, but there are also plenty of opportunities to make the future belong to retail. Experiences are one such opportunity.
“We shouldn’t waste even a second trying to fight internet trade. We need to think about the city and the centre as gathering places for trade; places where people can come together. We need to believe in good service and advice. There is still a need for people to actually handle what they are buying, and then, of course, there is no need to wait for delivery,” says Kim Lauritsen.
“We need to add something more to the store experience. Perhaps we should deliver the goods to people. Perhaps they could have their car washed while shopping with us. There are plenty of options,” he says.
A new neighbourhood arising
Close to the centre of Herning, a new neighbourhood is developing. Once the new hospital is finished on the outskirts of Herning, then the old hospital will move out of the city centre, creating brand new opportunities close to the centre.
“It will be a boost to have more people living closer to the city centre. I think that it will give the entire city a lift and will make using the city an even better experience,” Allan Kristensen says.
Kim Lauritsen nods again. Even though the two compete for the same customers, they are also respected colleagues. Their mission is to make Herning attractive to as many people as possible, and that is best done by working together. “But don’t worry, we are also competitors,” Allan Kristensen assures us.
“But more than just competitors, we are both people of Herning. That makes a difference.”
When you feel like shopping, Herning has everything you need. In the area around Østergade, Bredgade and Fonnesbechgade in the centre of Herning, you’ll find a wide selection of more than 150 stores and exciting specialty shops. While herningCentret is home to a further 80 shops. In the centre, you can shop indoors, away from the fickle Danish weather.