It’s that time of year again — when folks are decking the halls, stringing the lights and inflating those inflatable Santas. But when it comes to decorating a mammoth mall like King of Prussia Mall, well, things aren’t so simple.
The reindeer, lighted trees, garland, ribboned sconces, snowflakes and faux white orchids— where they go and when they go up is a carefully orchestrated endeavor that takes both time and money. The decor alone can cost between $500,000 and $1 million.
What’s not included in that amount are the fees associated with paying a company that comes in like a SWAT team of elves to install 28-foot tall trees, preening reindeer, an elaborate carousel and other decorations. Not long after the first of the year, the same group swoops in to disassemble everything, packs and returns it all to a storage area at another nearby mall owned by Simon Property Group, which owns King of Prussia, writes Natalie Kostelni in the Philadelphia Business Journal.
The process hasn’t changed much over the years but it has been tweaked. “It’s been an evolution,” said Kathy Smith, director of marketing and business development at King of Prussia Mall. “Things can get dated. We want to stay as relevant as possible for our customers.”
Smith and Gerilyn Davis, assistant director of marketing, are responsible for the herculean task of decorating the interior and exterior of the mall each holiday season and its importance can’t be underestimated. “Holiday decor is critical to the shopping experience,” Smith said. “It creates an atmosphere that extends the shopping experience. It differentiates that experience from other times of the year.”
That can translate into more robust sales. November and December account for 30 percent of some retailer’s annual sales, according to the National Retail Federation. Sales this year are expected to increase between 4.3 percent and 4.8 percent over 2017 and total spending is anticipated to fall between $717.5 billion and $720.9 billion.
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