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“We do not talk about problems – we talk about challenges”

“Future shopping spaces need to be flexible in every aspect, to meet the people’s needs and demands”, this is according to the ACROSS Advisory Bard the greatest task for 2023. The challenges are diverse, but a strong and experienced industry is ready to address those.

2022 is the year of MAPIC’s comeback. The atmosphere in Cannes has been optimistic and energetic, with people looking forward to experiencing in-person retail and interactions. Exhibitors, retailers, and participants at MAPIC 2022 displayed development projects and innovations which in turn painted an optimistic picture for the future of retail real estate. Each project that was presented at MAPIC is following its own path to success and stands out in its own way: whether that be customer experience, architecture, digitalization, sustainability, placemaking or community orientated.

For the placemaking industry, the year 2022 is not necessarily the year of the big retail comeback – although the results of many companies are surprisingly positive. Indeed, in terms of underlying industry performance, retail has proven to be more robust than many had imagined in this post-pandemic era. However, as much as twelve months ago the year 2022 had been poised to become the year of a new normality, it became the year in which many more challenges were added to the mix: inflation, energy crises, interest rates, a decline in consumption and labor shortage.  

Addressing the challenges

“We do not talk about problems; we talk about challenges and opportunities, and we are the ones who will address and solve them”. With this clear statement, Klaus Striebich, Managing Director of RaRe Advise and Head of the ACROSS Advisory Board, welcomed his board colleagues to Cannes. At the occasion of MAPIC World 2022, the Advisory Board of ACROSS Magazine came together in Cannes to discuss how the future of placemaking will look like – and the members did exactly that, however without denying the challenges, but rather addressing them in the most constructive way there is.

Despite the mentioned economic challenges, the most important tasks for the industry in 2023 will be according to the Board:

  • true placemaking approaches
  • an even stronger focus on mixed-use
  • making sustainability/ESG the first principle
  • develop the platform economy
  • the right use of data including developing new revenue models
  • a strong focus on the re-management of buildings and shopping places 
  • a stronger focus on repurposing existing retail models
  • a strong focus on entertainment, including new digital concepts such as the metaverse

Future shopping places need to be flexible in every aspect, to meet the people’s needs and demands. “As always in retail, we have to start every process and innovation with the consumer”, was the claim. However, this is becoming even more challenging since the next generation of consumers will live in two realities. The Board members addressed this fact not without some sort of self-criticism: It was made clear that in the ACROSS Advisory Board, younger and more diverse voices needed to be heard and represented. This must also be a topic for the future: forming teams that combine experience and innovative strength in equal measure.

How to make retail stronger in 2023

The meeting in Cannes resulted in a promise that the Across Board with its professionals in their interdisciplinary expertise ranging from architecture, retail, finance, PropTech, consultancy to outlet management will take responsibility to collaborate and to gain prominence in becoming an even stronger voice of the industry. All with the goal to make the placemaking industry stronger in its performance. To make it more attractive for the people working for it, especially in times of labor shortage. Make it valuable for the communities surrounding shopping spaces.

About the ACROSS Advisory Board

The ACROSS Advisory Board was established in mid-2016. From day one, the board’s stated goal has been to offer its expertise in topic formulation. Over the years, the board has not only grown, but it has also become more interdisciplinary, just like the retail real estate world itself. In addition to shopping center managers, the board includes architects, retail experts, financial experts, PropTech professionals, consultants, and outlet managers. The mix of expertise from the various areas that our industry has to offer makes the ACROSS board unique. That is not only due to the fact that the mixed-use asset class is on the rise, but also because we all know that collaboration and thinking outside of the box are essential to our business. The ACROSS Advisory Board is currently comprised of 27 members. That gives us the opportunity to closely monitor current trends and changes within the industry and to be able to classify them. Learn more about the ACROSS Advisory Board.