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COMMENTARIES OF PLACEMAKING EXPERTS

Why has our industry been so willing to settle for boring? Asks Cindy Andersen, Managing Director at Ingka Centres. The endless rows of identical stores, the predictability of a food court’s menu, the steady drone of escalators… These conventions have been the traditional hallmarks of shopping center decline for decades. To stay relevant, we must evolve as an industry.

“Placemaking is the art of shaping a special destination and making an emotional connection with the visitor during his on-site experience,” states Steffen Hofmann, Managing Partner at ambas Real Estate GmbH, and Member of the ACROSS Advisory Board, in the latest “Industry Outlook 2024”.

PROJECTS, TRENDS AND STRATEGIES

Following a customer-centric approach, the ‘Trading-Up’ strategy carried out by ROS Retail Outlet Shopping across its entire portfolio has achieved full potential in 2023. In particular, the Polish centers managed by the operator have registered up to 20 new openings, occupying a total gross lettable area of 3,000 sq m. Expectations in the Polish market are also on the rise with the anticipated center extension of Designer Outlet Gdańsk, which is scheduled to open by the end of 2024.

NEPI Rockcastle, Europe’s third-largest listed retail real estate company and the biggest owner and operator of shopping centers across CEE markets by value, is to invest around 600 million Euro in its development and asset refurbishment pipeline to meet strong demand from retailers aiming to tap into the region’s increasingly affluent consumer base.

The grand opening of Westfield Hamburg-Überseequartier in Hamburg, scheduled to take place in spring 2024, will mark the completion of Unibail-Rodamco Westfield’s (URW) largest inner-city development project. In an interview with ACROSS, Andreas Hohlmann, Managing Director Austria & Germany, talks about the role of retail and lifestyle destinations in modern society, the five trends that must be observed, and why size matters.

This Thursday, one of the most sustainably modernized Kaufland stores to date will reopen to customers in Lenggrieser Straße in Bad Tölz. Just a glance at the newly designed facade with modern, sustainable wooden elements, which blends harmoniously into the local, Bavarian building culture, makes it clear that a very special revitalization of the more than 50-year-old store has taken place here after a total renovation period of around 17 months.

LATEST TRENDS IN ASSET AND CENTER MANAGEMENT

STRATEGIES OF RETAILERS

Why has our industry been so willing to settle for boring? Asks Cindy Andersen, Managing Director at Ingka Centres. The endless rows of identical stores, the predictability of a food court’s menu, the steady drone of escalators… These conventions have been the traditional hallmarks of shopping center decline for decades. To stay relevant, we must evolve as an industry.

RETAIL TECHNOLOGY

In a world dominated by online shopping, the role of brick-and-mortar retailers is at a critical turning point. The ACROSS Advisory Board discussion in Cannes shed light on a pressing issue – the need to re-educate consumers about the value of physical shopping experiences. Ben Chesser, CEO of Coniq, shares his view on the matter – a PropTech perspective.

There are a variety of ways that retail companies are cleverly utilizing artificial intelligence, states Marc Giovannini, founder of Omniaz. He highlights use cases, explains the growing interest, and discusses why hyped products like the much-anticipated Apple Vision Pro may be a push toward mass adoption, but are not the breakthrough product the industry is waiting for.

In an age where businesses and consumers get bombarded with digital communications, relevant information must get to people at the right time. Any mall business that sends generic messages to its tenants or shoppers will quickly lose their interest. Digital platforms are fundamental to improving the performance of shopping malls and their tenants.

LATEST TRENDS

It is a complex task to ensure project profitability. There is a struggle between doing what is right and what is reasonable. As an expert in the world F&B development Will Odwarka, founder and CEO of Dubai-based firm Heartatwork Hospitality Consulting, states in his newest column: “However, in an ever-growing and competitive landscape, it is crucial to establish distinguishing factors that are recognizable and embrace them wholeheartedly.”

Frequency, length of stay, atmosphere – there are many reasons why gastronomic offerings are an essential part of retail. Olaf Hohmann, Head of Retail Gastronomy Research at the EHI Retail Institute, uses Germany as an example to show the development, trends, and potential of retail gastronomy.

PLANS OF INVESTORS AND OWNERS

Institutional investors in Germany are facing a significant shift in their real estate investment strategies, as revealed in the twelfth annual survey by Universal Investment. The survey among German institutional investors sheds light on the evolving landscape of real estate allocations and investor preferences, indicating a strong appetite for diversification beyond national borders and a growing recognition of the role of real estate as a hedge against inflation.

Trei Real Estate GmbH (“Trei”) just opened the 38th retail park of its Vendo Park brand in Poland. The property is located in Konin, a town of around 80,000 residents in the Greater Poland voivodeship. The new Vendo Park has a lettable area of around 5,400 sq m, with units let to Aldi, Rossmann, Pepco, Dealz, Kakadu, Sinsay and Piekarnia Grochola. On the whole, Trei invested about 6.4 million euros in the property.