King of the malls
PUBLISHED: 05:29 22 December 2014
Paul is the new general manager of Norwich's intu Chapelfield mall, after two years at the head of the city's Castle Mall.
Paul McCarthy has no excuse for leaving his Christmas shopping to the last minute. He has just left one job, surrounded by shops and shoppers, for another.
Paul is the new general manager of Norwich’s intu Chapelfield mall, after two years at the head of the city’s Castle Mall.
He takes over at the busiest time of the year and says: “I’m looking forward to everything: our lights, our musical Christmas tree, the buzz of a busy shopping centre, excited faces, hustle and bustle, the special offers, the surprises, the satisfied customers. In short, joyful moments.”
And obviously, for a man who has made a career out of shops, he loves shopping.
He has already completed most of his own Christmas shopping. “I’m a planner by nature so most of my personal shopping is done by the end of November,” he says, but adds: “My wife Tracy will take care of the wider family commitments up until about a week before the big day.”
After the frenetic city centre festivities he is looking forward to a village Christmas at home with his family and in-laws. “I’ll be in the kitchen cooking!” he says. “We’ve lived in Swanton Morley, near Dereham, since 2010 and I wouldn’t change it for the world. It has a great sense of community and we’ve made some good friends.”
And what is he hoping will be waiting for him beneath the Christmas tree? “My daughter Louise always finds me something special and unexpected, that’s always the favourite,” says Paul.
By Boxing Day he will be back at the shops – at work.
“Intu Chapelfield has helped make the whole Norwich retail offer very special indeed, serving not just our own city but our county and beyond,” he says. “What I’m most looking forward to is supporting the wonderful team that I’ve inherited and so helping them to deliver consistently excellent experiences to the millions who choose to visit us, and our many retailers who choose to trade with us.”
“It’s really early days but my plans will centre on ensuring that intu Chapelfield is the very best that it can be can for our customers. Also continuing to contribute, along with other local stakeholders such as the Business Improvement District and the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, to bringing more opportunity and prosperity to Norwich.”
Paul began his career with Barclays Bank, and then worked at Heathrow Airport for 19 years, before managing an outlet shopping village in Essex, and then Norwich’s Castle Mall.
“My abiding memory of is the fantastic team of people that I worked alongside. Also, I’m proud that we secured planning permission for the redevelopment of Level 4 of the centre into a restaurant quarter which will help transform Castle Mall over the next year,” he says.
He is adamant that there is no rivalry between the two Norwich shopping centres. “We provide a different, yet equally needed and valued, retail offer to our respective visitors. When I was at Castle Mall I had a great relationship with the intu Chapelfield team, and it will be the same now with my former colleagues,” he says.
So, as he settles into his new office, just streets away from his old job, he is looking forward to the goodwill and good shopping of Christmas extending into the New Year and beyond.
And if he ever needs extra advice, he knows where to turn. “I’m married to Tracy and we have one daughter, Louise. Both are exceptional shoppers and they continue to practise regularly. Both frequently give me great, independent insight,” he says.