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February 27, 2024

Consumer criticism of shopping centers is nothing new, states Ken Gunn, Managing Director of Ken Gunn Consulting. As a retail business consultant, advising investors and asset managers, he has reported survey-based dissatisfaction with the proposition, branding, and management of shopping centers for 30 years.

Originally developed solely to meet the daily needs of consumers, shopping centers quickly became an asset class. The model worked very well for a long time, but as consumer behavior has changed, so have the requirements of tenants, operators and investors. The obvious task to satisfy customers, business partners and stakeholders is: Get your customers to return to your locations. Clear differentiation and positioning as well as a clear focus on people are crucial.

It is time to reveal the secret of success in retail real estate, or rather to remind those who may have forgotten it, says Klaus Striebich, Managing Director of RaRE Advise and Head of the ACROSS Advisory Board. As in many other areas, we sometimes lose the right focus or simply have a different perspective as we become more and more specialized or individualized in our daily work. Let’s hit the reset button!

In historical comparison, 2024 may be another relatively quiet year for transactions, says Steffen Hofmann, Managing Partner at ambas. However, the prospect of more moderate interest rates means that a number of players are taking a much more positive view of the future. It will also be a year of clarity: Motivated sellers will place highly interesting properties on the market and apply a deal-oriented negotiation approach. For investors, the entry price is not the only thing that matters – the ability to invest in sustainable properties does as well.

How can shopping places become “future ready” by responding to the rapidly changing retail landscape and the future behaviors and expectations of their audiences? An analysis by Ibrahim Ibrahim, Managing Director of Portland Design.

It’s no news that the world of online shopping is growing, and the role of brickand-mortar retail destinations 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.

“We are firmly committed to continuously raising the level of our malls,” says Christoph Andexlinger. The SES CEO explains why reliability and the continuous development of quality and offers are the best paths forward and why the industry urgently needs to work together to present shopping centers as places that provide attractive working conditions and benefits, which, in fact, they are.

Consumer criticism of shopping centers is nothing new, states Ken Gunn, Managing Director of Ken Gunn Consulting. As a retail business consultant, advising investors and asset managers, he has reported survey-based dissatisfaction with the proposition, branding, and management of shopping centers for 30 years.

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.

It is a complex task to ensure project profitability. There is a struggle between doing what is right and what is reasonable. “However, in an ever-growing and competitive landscape, it is crucial to establish distinguishing factors that are recognizable and to embrace them wholeheartedly,” states Will Odwarka, Founder and CEO of Dubai-based firm Heartatwork Hospitality Consulting.

The labor market situation in the European retail sector has continued to worsen. Meanwhile, companies are under increasing financial pressure, consumer sentiment is declining, and online retail is gaining strength, explains Manuela Lindlbauer, Owner of Lindlpower Personalmanagement. A perfectly legitimate question remains: Why would anyone consider a job in retail today? Urgent solutions are needed when it comes to HR policy in retail, or are AI and robotics the answer?

For a major international player like Kaufland, maximum customer orientation means continuously increasing the efficiency of the shopping experience for customers who know what they want and providing support to customers who are undecided – and creating physical and digital spaces in which to meet and exchange ideas. Angelus Bernreuther, Head of IR at Kaufland Stiftung & Co. KG, explains how Kaufland uses technology to personalize its stores and individually address customers.

Reinventing the high street: With the redevelopment projects of two iconic assets in Paris, one on Boulevard Haussmann and one on Rue de Rivoli, Redevco not only shows how historic buildings can be transformed into innovative multi-functional destinations, but, in the case of Boulevard Haussmann also how space can be showcased even during a redevelopment.

Shopping center investors and managers are increasingly concerned about the role of their assets, the value and experience they deliver, and how they can resonate in a digital age, argues James Miller, Director of Pragma. Therefore, the overriding focus for shopping centers in 2024, continues to be renewal and adaptation on the basis of accurate consumer research and insights.

The placemaking industry is increasingly realizing that established retail business models and their 1:1 replication across multiple locations are no longer effective. Rising digitalization, climate change, post-pandemic effects, and political and economic instabilities are leading to societal changes that profoundly manifest in altered consumer behavior, explains Oliver Zügel, Chairman GALLUP Swiss & Board Member at evAI.