Iulius Town Timisoara has been operating for three months as it heads into its first festive season. Iulius Mall Group’s head of asset management Sebastian Mahu shares all the details about the Christmas celebrations

How has the mall performed since it was opened to the public at the end of August – has it lived up to expectations?
The extension increased the food and beverage area by more than 300% and the results have been even better than expected, with many stores already surpassing initial estimations. While we are still a few tenant changes away from reaching a perfect balance between styles and cuisines we are more than happy with the results for the first three months. The fashion retail is also doing well, especially on weekends, which shows that the centre is attracting people from further afield, as was hoped.

Have all the new tenants started operating or are there still openings to come?
We are still looking forward to the opening of World Class, which will be the biggest gym and wellness centre in Romania, and Cinema City, the first VIP cinema in Timisoara, as well as a few other anchors.

What has been the highlight so far?
We are excited to have exceeded traffic of 70 000 people over several days aside from the extension opening day. So, we are confident that our vision of creating a shopping destination for the whole region is being realised even sooner than we’d hoped for.

How is the festive season typically celebrated in retail outlets in Romania – do shops/malls make a big deal of the season, with many decorations, or is it quite low-key?
Iulius Town is setting a new standard and there are several highlights: for instance, we have the biggest Christmas tree in any retail outlet in Romania; as well as the most sophisticated lights display for the external areas. We expect that our extensive gardens will feature frequently on social media due to these investments.

Do you have any other marketing plans for Iulius Town around the festive season? Are special activations planned?
There are daily events during December, ranging from flashmob carol singing to performances by the Royal Opera where we expect around 5 000 people. The main marketing campaign also has a CSR component around Christmas gift-giving. In addition there will be a few other festive attractions, such as an indoor Christmas train, gift-packing and wrapping stations, an ice-skating rink and special stages for school events.