Credit: Sonae Sierra

Applications for Participation in “First Store by Alexa” Now Open

The Alexa shopping center in Berlin is celebrating its 10th anniversary in September 2017. That’s reason enough for Sonae Sierra, Union Investment and Alexa to launch an innovative retail casting competition.

Five words are enough to stir up interest: six months’ base rent free. This is the handsome prize that awaits the winners of the retail competition “First Store by Alexa” in the two categories “Best Brand” and “Best Newcomer.” The two stores will naturally open in Berlin’s famous shopping mall—with 16 million customers annually one of the most visited malls in Europe—on October 1, 2017. “We want this competition to raise awareness of Alexa among new concepts seeking a springboard and the best showcase that the German capital currently offers,” explained Fabian Hellbusch, marketing manager at Union Investment (see interview here).

The participants will have to jump a few hurdles to get there. They must first sign up for the competition by November 30, 2016. The documents and all the details for the competition for that can be found at Union Investment, Sonae Sierra, and the advertising agency 21media created the retail casting for manufacturers, producers, and online stores who want to enrich retail outlets with new ideas.

“Best Newcomer” and “Best Brand”

As already mentioned, the competition has two categories. “Best Newcomer” features young companies that want to open their first store in a prime location. Their bricks-and-mortar retail experience should have maximum local character and their brand should not yet be established. “Best Brand,” on the other hand, is open to established companies that previously sold their wares via other retailers or only online or that want to bring an entirely new product or concept to market.

In a next step, a pre-selected jury picks three finalists in each of the two categories. It will focus mainly on the degree of innovation and the concept’s economic sustainability. The top three in each category will be presented to the public in Alexa and on digital platforms in February 2017. Visitors to the Berlin shopping center and users of online media can then evaluate their concepts in a public vote. They’ll make their decision based on three questions: Would you like to see this concept as a store in Alexa? How innovative do you think the concept is? In your view, does the concept have the potential to establish itself in the market/in Alexa?

And the winner is …

After that, the ball is again in the jury’s court. It examines the finalists according to the same criteria as the public. The opinions of the public and the jury will then be given a weighting of 50% each. The results of these two polls will then decide the two final winners. These will then be announced on March 31 so that there will be enough time before the store openings for store design, shopfitting, and marketing. The Alexa team will provide support in that regard as well.

The documents and the details for the competition can be found at

FirstStoreLogo-RGB 150







  • “We want to encourage innovation.”
  • “We want to inspire established, national and international brands to reinvent themselves.”
  • “We want to give newcomers impetus and opportunities to dare to try.”
  • “We’re doing that with the best resource we have: a stage in the middle of Berlin in the successful Alexa shopping center at Alexanderplatz.”

About Alexa

Alexa and its 185 shops on a total lettable area of about 56,600 sq m has been a visitor magnet since its opening in September 2007. The shopping and leisure center owes its name to its central location on Alexanderplatz in Berlin-Mitte. The anchor tenants include Zara, Media Markt, and H&M. It is owned by Union Investment Real Estate GmbH (91%) and Sonae Sierra, Portugal (9%). Sonae Sierra Management Germany GmbH is responsible for leasing and center management.

Sign up for our ACROSS Newsletter. Subscribe to ACROSS Magazine.

Retail MORE

Decentralization and the future of retail in German city centers

As if retailers in German city centers have not had enough to contend with in recent years–primarily driven by growing competition from online retailers–now they are also confronted with even bigger economic problems due to the Corona pandemic and the associated restrictions and closures. A continuous analysis of visitor development by GfK shows what has actually happened since the start of the pandemic, who the losers and even bigger losers of the pandemic are, and what the future holds.

Going Forward! Europe’s food retail sector in the corona-year 2020: the storm of the century

Europe's food retailers are being put to the test by the eco- nomic consequences of the natural disaster Covid-19. This is a very special kind of weather situation. While non-food retailers and the food service industry are in sheer despair in the face of the calm caused by government-imposed lockdowns, the "system-relevant" food retail sector has been confronted with a veritable storm tide since the sec- ond quarter of 2020.

Food retailers in their own words

Industry leaders told us about the sales impact Corona had on their business in 2020. They also explain what fundamental changes in location, sales, and marketing strategy they are planning for 2021/2022 in response to the widespread economic impact of the pandemic.

Allowing young talents to completely rethink retail

Union Investment and Sierra Germany launched their latest edition of First Store by Alexa–a campaign by Berlin’s well-known shopping center Alexa. Ralf Schaffuss, Head of Retail Asset Management of owner Union Investment Real Estate, and Jens Horeis, General Manager of Center Management company Sierra Germany, talk about their latest innovation of the competition.

A closer look at Belgian retail parks

Retail parks have been the best performing and most resilient retail format in Belgium prior to and throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in a slight compression in yields by 25bps since the beginning of the year according to new research by CBRE commissioned by Mitiska REIM.

25 new brands came to the Czech market in 2020

Despite the coronavirus crisis, this is one brand more than 2019, according to a market survey by Cushman & Wakefield.