Nicolas ROCHE, Communauté d’agglomération de Pau Béarn Pyrénées

Nicolas ROCHE

Director of Attractiveness and Economic Development Communauté d’agglomération de Pau Béarn Pyrénées

Could you explain the mission of the Attractiveness and Economic Development Unit?

Our role consists of promoting the development and the attractiveness of our territory. To do so, we cover several fields including industry, crafts, tourism and commerce. The actions taken in support of industry are aimed at supporting the development of local businesses and helping companies from outside the region by making it easier for them to establish themselves here. We are therefore looking to revitalise industrial areas and brownfield sites, retail areas and artisanal areas. In terms of innovation, our role is to manage a technopole.

As for the tourism sector, we supervise the Tourist Office as well as the Palais des Congrès, for events, which plays an important role for the local dynamic.

As far as commerce is concerned, we work in order to boost the vitality of our city centre and decrease the commercial vacancy rate. We also focus our efforts towards searching for retailers and attending fairs. We are constantly in touch with owners to help them find tenants and with retailers to help them find locations that meet their needs.

What are your current challenges in terms of boosting your region? 

Our main focus is to continue the momentum that has been built up since 2014. The vitality of the city centre has improved significantly thanks to a number of initiatives to optimise housing, public spaces and mobility… We must now continue our efforts to make our city centre more dynamic by organising events throughout the year to attract potential shoppers. Our retailers are counting on us!

Another challenge for us is to ensure that market values align with our region in terms of commercial real estate. For example, we work with owners-lessors, specialised real estate agents but also with institutional partners to activate various levers.

How do Codata data help you to carry out your missions?

First and foremost, the Codata tool is a database that provides us national comparison data. This enables us to see where we stand in comparison with other similar-sized cities with a similar catchment area to Pau.

What’s more, Codata data are complementary to our own. They give us more depth in the figures and enable us to track commercial dynamics over time. They also enable us to monitor new openings and the nature of these commercial activities (hotels, cafés, restaurants, clothing, cosmetics, etc.) in the city centre, and to observe changes.

In concrete terms, we receive data during the summer after the field census conducted by the Codata teams. Then, these data are integrated in our tool PowerBi to be fed into a dashboard. It gives us information on our whole region but we particularly look into the data on the shopping streets of Pau city centre. Sometimes we do not understand some of the figures. That is why we always schedule a meeting with the Codata team to get explanations and ensure that the data we receive is correctly interpreted in terms of the methodology used.

According to you, what are the strong points of the Codata solution? 

Codata provides us with neutral, impartial, objective data based on a methodology that is applied in the same way in every region and every city in France, which is essential and very reassuring for us. They are also complete and reliable data. We are also planning to extend our subscription to obtain more pragmatic and comparative information. The goal is to answer questions such as “What are the retailers that perform well in other cities?” and thus assist us in our prospecting.

In addition, the Codata team is extremely responsive to our questions, which is very much appreciated. We systematically get an answer within a day.