Sep 28, 2023

She Is The New Placewise Boss - With A Strong Belief In Increased Footfall

Originally published in Retail Magazine Norway

The new Placewise CEO Susan Hagerty Bonsak brings with her international management experience from the retail and B2B sector. She strongly believes in positive development in footfall.

Nils Vanebo

PUBLISHED Thursday 28 September 2023 

With knowledge from markets in Europe, Asia and North America, according to Placewise Group - formerly Boostcom - she is very well qualified to lead their further growth, not least in the USA.

Bonsak comes from the USA and in 1984 graduated from Arizona State University as "Graduated Summa Cum Laude", i.e. among the top 1% of students.

Bonsak has lived in Norway since the 1990s and has extensive experience from Telenor, Nespresso, DataRespons and other tech companies. She takes over the management job from Peter Tonstad, who goes to a start-up investment company. The board has been working since this summer to find his successor.

Placewise Group started its global expansion in 2016 and has since established itself as a rapidly growing SaaS company with services to over 1,100 shopping centers in three continents.

Their self-developed SaaS solution includes everything from data processing, marketing, machine learning to content management. They have 120 employees and serve shopping center customers worldwide. Last year, turnover was NOK 140 million.

Footfall increasing

Susan Hagerty Bonsak believes in malls.

- Placewise has a unique technology with a solution that offers many possibilities for shopping centres. The sector is in an exciting period. Despite gloomy predictions in both the US and Europe, shopping malls are not dying. Footfall is increasing as many centers redefine their concepts. There is every reason to expect stronger growth and better results in the years ahead, she says.

She points out that we see worldwide that physical retail has made a strong comeback after Covid, and that many large players report that visits, turnover and the proportion of rented premises are higher now than before the pandemic.

- In the USA, 12% higher visitor numbers have been reported in 2023 than in 2022, and similar figures are reported from many EU and APAC markets. In a survey by CBRE in Asia, we see that more than half of the tenants have higher sales now compared to 2019 and more store openings are planned, says Bonsak.

The sector is constantly adapting to stay relevant and exciting for people. Shopping centers are now becoming more than just places to shop – they are becoming integrated parts of people's lives, with experiences, dining and service offerings as an important part of the package. We now know that the physical shopping experience cannot easily be replaced by online shopping. With tenants who understand the value of being in both the physical and digital worlds, and who are ready to embrace smart digital solutions, we are optimistic about the global shopping center industry, concludes Susan Hagerty Bonsak.