20 YEARS OF MAPIC – LOOKING BACK AND FORWARD

It was the usual framework: Sunshine; the laid-back the historic old town; the vibrant, busy life of southern France in the midst of November; the dark-suited businessmen meeting in the Palais de Festival or in the many restaurants and bars of Cannes. It was the 20th MAPIC, the retail real estate fair, in November 2014.

BY JÖRG F. BITZER

Whereas the “official” numbers showed a “stable 8400 delegates from 75 countries,” a few – admittedly very personal – impressions of the three days on the Cote d’Azur paint a slightly different picture:

There was a widespread sentiment among attendees that there were fewer participants spread more evenly over the time from Tuesday evening until Friday afternoon. Fewer did NOT automatically mean less meaningful: On the contrary, many shared the view that there were more expanding retailers present that made themselves more visible. The search for space remains “ON”!

Based on confidence in an ongoing retail recovery, international retailers’ focus on capital cities and “million-inhabitant cities” has increased noticeably – expanding retailers continue to look for prime space in the prime locations.

Luxury retail in itself has become an increasingly frequent topic both within focused shopping centers and high-street locations. Fewer big box retailers were present. The days of mega-sized hypermarkets and super-sized home improvement warehouses may not yet be over, but their appetite for new space and new locations within Europe has clearly become less visible.

NEW MARKETS AND NEW BRANDS

The internationalization of retail is an unbreakable trend. 2,400 retailers attended MAPIC primarily because they wanted to look into new markets.
More and more new brands from Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey are seeking their future in “old European” markets after having successfully managed operations in their home markets.

The convergence of online and offline retail remains a visible trend, however it seems that this trend still has a way to go. Discussions on new leasing/rental models for multichannel stores has intensified, however.

TREND RETAILTAINMENT

Retailtainment, entertainment within a retail environment, is also a clear necessity trying to establish itself as a trend. The ideas for concepts still seem to be rather “old fashioned” in many cases.

Retailers are still in search of well functioning, professionally operated locations. This gives enough hope for the future.

MAPIC 2014 was a success. MAPIC 2015 is around the corner. Naming the USA as the country of honor for the upcoming event in November 2015 clearly documents several of the above-mentioned trends, as experience shows that many implementations of these trends see their first occasion within the US. In these fast-changing days, coming back to the “usual framework” in the old harbor in Cannes is always a bit like an anchor for the calendar of any retail real estate manager.

OpinionAt

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