Feature | Management

Outlook 2021

Most experts in the European placemaking industry have adopted a consciously positive stance with regard to the recently commenced business year.

As part of its outlook for the previous year, ACROSS ran the following headline: “Waiting for the big crash? The retail real estate industry is cautiously optimistic about 2020. Uncertainties remain, however.” One might even say that last year began with the usual highs. Hardly anyone could have imagined that a virus, which was already widespread in China at the time, would cause a paradigm shift. That, however, is exactly what happened. The big crash finally came to pass. As a direct result of Covid-19, 2020 went down in history as an extremely difficult year. The lockdowns hit the global economy hard and, by extension, the placemaking industry in Europe as well. The term “crisis” was used in an inflationary manner. Unfortunately, 2021 has not gotten off to a better start. The coronavirus has maintained its firm grip on the continent.

Seizing Repositioning Opportunities

However, the administration of vaccines has begun in every country. More importantly, opportunities can be found in every crisis. The pandemic upended a number of industry rules and habits that had already reached their expiration dates. Now innovation, a forward-looking spirit, and flexibility are the order of the day. After all, it is pointless to lament the supposedly good times. Instead, facing the new challenges that lie ahead is what is essential.

According to CBRE, in terms of retail real estate, the full recovery of prime urban locations in the medium term will depend on the return to offices as well as tourism and business travel. Opportunities exist in the grocery sector, which offers investors a combination of long-term leases and predictable yields, as well as in retail parks. Demand for prime locations in the best areas is expected to continue, although prices are likely to fall in those areas as well, and rents and property values will have to be adjusted. Therein lies the opportunity for the repositioning of retail real estate.

Outlets weather the storm

The majority of experts in the European placemaking sector are decidedly optimistic about the 2021 financial year, which is already underway, as evidenced by their statements (see the following pages). Brendon O’Reilly, Managing Director of Fashion House Group, sees potential for the designer outlet sector, which is not specifically mentioned by CBRE: “The pandemic will continue to pose challenges across the entire industry, but outlets are well positioned to weather the storm (…) Increased pressure on brands to liquidate unsold stock globally will continue to result in borders coming down and stock being distributed across countries. Local outlet space is simply insufficient to shift the current levels of the surplus.”

Therefore, the hope that European placemaking in 2021 will be as (cautiously) positive in retrospect as in foresight is alive and well. It is highly likely that a new normal, one with which the industry can cope well, will have taken hold by 2022.


Jaap van der Bijl

CEO of Altera

Covid-19 As a Catalyst

“2021 will be the year of lasting and changing consumer behavior.Covid-19 has forced consumers to change their behavior and adapt to the new normal. We consider several of these changes to be lasting trends. Consumers’ needs-driven purchases, such as groceries, basic necessities, and personal care, will remain with local retailers. We expect those need-driven purchases that are made at convenience centers “around the corner” to be permanent, with limited to no correlation to consumer confidence, economic volatility, and online shopping behavior. We see that the Covid-19 situation has served as a catalyst for the growth of online shopping. It is a development that was previously present in high street retail (want-driven purchases), in which consumers just ‘browse’, but buy online. Successful multi-channel strategies will be key for retailers in 2021 as consumers experience online shopping for their non-daily needs to be efficient and timesaving. Due to the scarcity of locations in the Netherlands and the competition among supermarket retailers, tenants enter into long leases and retain their positions even longer. In addition, given the broader fundamentals of the Dutch retail market, risk exposure is limited. In our view, those drivers constitute and facilitate a defensive strategy that focuses on income.”


Márk Balástyai

Project Director of Etele Plaza at Futureal

Dominant Shopping Centers Will Survive

“Despite the challenges raised by the pandemic, which has likely had a negative impact on mid-sized retailers, dominant shopping centers, such as Etele Plaza, which boasts a great location, products, and services, will be able to maintain and even strengthen their market presence. Etele Plaza is expected to open in Q3 2021, and, to date, more than 75% of the leasable area has been leased to high-profile tenants, including some of the largest fashion retailers. With unique digital, sustainability, health, and safety solutions, it meets the changing needs of customers and markets that have resulted from the pandemic.”


Jean-Christophe Bretxa

CEO of Metro Properties

Bringing a lot of hope 

“This year has been difficult for the global economy, but also for the whole real estate industry. Luckily, our retail parks turned out to be important, safe places for one-stop-shopping and resilient due to food, DIY, and consumer electronics anchors. We even keep signing new lease contracts and extend existing ones in our properties in Germany, Turkey, and Poland. 2021 brings a lot of hope. Vaccination will most probably result in less restrictions. We may be facing new challenges soon: Are we prepared for the rebound? Will our retailers have the right goods available in appropriate quantities? Will we meet the expectations of the post-corona generation? We assume that shopping will become more human, emotional, and tangible. So, how can we offer new experiences in a cozy, safe, and familiar shopping environment? Answering these questions will keep us busy in the coming months and will require energy, forward thinking, confidence, and courage. Let’s seize these opportunities!”


Henrike Waldburg

Head of Investment Management Retail at Union Investment and Member of the ACROSS Advisory Board

Opportunity-oriented Investment Strategy

“Many investors are currently observing the retail real estate sector with concern. In addition to the real loss of income caused by the lockdown, the consequences of an expected economic recession, impending insolvencies, the drastic increase in online usage, and the influence of the legislature on the relationship between tenants and landlords play major roles here. Our investment strategy remains opportunity-oriented in this challenging market environment – with a particular focus on system-relevant retail segments, such as local supply. In the core European markets, our market development also includes mixed-use and high-street properties in very good locations.”


Amaury de Crombrugghe

Chief Investment Officer of AG Real Estate

“Non-retail Areas” Should Also Be Introduced

“The retail sector has increasingly faced a number of challenges. The current health crisis has only accelerated the need for transformation in this ever-evolving sector. It is necessary to reinvent the customer journey to increase time spent on premises by proposing an attractive and diversified offer that corresponds to the needs of each targeted audience. Location and a convenient yet experimental commercial mix with a local touch are two key elements to the success of a shopping center. Finally, retailers will have to pay particular attention to the service they provide in order to make a difference with e-commerce. ‘Non-retail areas’ should also be introduced, with more entertainment, food & beverage, well-being, co-working, and medical services added to the mix. AG Real Estate is ready to take up all of these challenges.”


Henrica Ginström

COO of Citycon

Development Toward Urban Hubs

“Covid-19 will continue to affect the retail real estate sector in 2021. Tenant-mix remains the most important differentiating factor, and Citycon continues to benefit from its strategy, which is based on a large share of necessity tenants. Over the longer-term, we expect retail real estate to develop toward accessible and convenient urban hubs that combine a variety of services, leisure, and retail within a short distance and in connection to public transport. Urbanization and densification will drive this development, and location will become increasingly important. Our strategy is to focus on assets benefitting from such trends, and we intend to increase the residential and office share in our portfolio.”


Tomasz Trzósło

CEO of EPP

Nothing Can Beat Brick-and-mortar Retail

“2020 was a very challenging year for the shopping center sector – both in the CEE region and Poland. The pandemic and two lockdowns have had a significant impact on our operations and results. Therefore, my hope for 2021 is that, with the introduction of vaccines and a reduction in infection rates, we will see optimism and the return of customers to our centers. As a company, we have had to face a period of limited revenues and react to last-minute government decisions that have impacted the operations of our shopping centers, our tenants, and the choices made by our customers. With 2020 behind us, there is an emphasis on strict hygienic standards, consumer confidence, and exciting new concepts at our centers, and I truly believe that the future, as well as our results, will prove that nothing can beat brick-and-mortar retail.”


Silvio Kirchmair

CEO of umdasch Store Makers and Member of the ACROSS Advisory Board

A “Sector Rotation” Can Be Observed

“umdasch Store Makers expects a difficult 2021 for brick-and-mortar retail and, by extension, the real estate industry, which will continue to be overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic. However, we anticipate an upswing to begin in the second half of the year, which should return us to normality in 2022. ‘Sector rotation’ can be seen in the real estate sector: Food, discounters, home & living, healthcare providers, and, above all, tech giants are set to take advantage of the tailwinds, while areas in the fashion or even banking sectors are set to shrink continuously. We, umdasch Store Makers, grew slightly in 2020, which was completely against the market trend. We would like to continue on this course and actively participate in the ongoing consolidation of the shopfitting market.”


Radosław Knap

General Director of PRCH (Polish Council of Shopping Centers)

Long Recovery Period in Poland

“The commercial real estate industry has never faced a challenge such as the one that began last year. Due to Covid-19, significant restrictions with regard to the operation of commercial facilities have been introduced twice in Poland. From March to May of 2019, the industry recorded a turnover decrease of more than PLN 17.5 billion. As a result of the partial closure in November, the decrease in turnover that month amounted to around PLN 8 billion. In 2021, we hope to see a gradual recovery of the industry, although the process is likely to take a number of months. The main pillars of a return to the pre-pandemic situation should be ensuring the safety of customers and employees. We should adapt gained experience and develop innovative solutions.”


Mirela Covasa

CFO of NEPI Rockcastle

Extensive Health and Safety Measures

“Last year was challenging for the retail real estate industry due to the restrictions implemented by governments that were aimed at restricting the spread of Covid-19. Our main focus was ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our employees, tenants, and visitors, while minimizing disruption. We implemented extensive health and safety measures, such as enforcing social distancing and the wearing of masks, communicating continuously with staff and customers, ventilating buildings with 100% fresh air, as well as performing additional cleaning and disinfection on a regular basis. As a result, more than half of NEPI Rockcastle’s properties have been certified ‘Covid-19 Compliant’ by Safe Asset Group, Sweden. Our customers trust those measures, as evidenced by their return to shopping centers. Moreover, customers have changed their shopping behaviors, as they better plan the experience and are more determined and focused; the value of the average shopping basket has also increased. We estimate an even stronger recovery once a vaccine is widely available and the pandemic is brought under control. NEPI Rockcastle has increased its long-term commitment to sustainability by implementing a Green Finance Framework and enhancing the transparency of its portfolio and business operations, as well as disclosures. We have committed to using proceeds from green bonds and loans to finance or refinance existing and future projects, which has improved the environmental performance of our property portfolio. A successful €500 million green bond issuance followed in July, and we estimate that most of our future financing will use the Green Finance Framework.”


Grigoriy Pecherskiy

Managing Partner of ADG Group

Neighborhood Centers on the Rise

“Despite this year having been extremely challenging for global brick-and-mortar retail, the trend toward convenient neighborhoods is growing all over the world as people need decent entertainment, F&B, and services within walking distance from their homes: Paris is transforming into a ’15-minute city’, Chicago is developing local routes, and we are continuing to redevelop neighborhood centers in Moscow. So far, we have opened seven centers, and another four are scheduled to open in Q2 2021. As consumers are changing, it is also essential to mix communication channels. To that end, in addition to the offline experience, we are developing an e-commerce offer through our own digital app.”


Joanna Fisher

CEO of ECE Marketplaces and Member of the ACROSS Advisory Board

Finding Partnership-based Solutions

“The impact of the pandemic hit brick-and-mortar retail hard last year, accelerating and intensifying the challenges that already existed. Even though we all hope to get the coronavirus pandemic under control as quickly as possible: 2021 will also be significantly impacted by it, and the effects will become even more visible. Therefore, we must continue to find and jointly implement partnership-based solutions for dealing with the current changes, and we must drive our strategic responses in an even more intensive and sustainable manner. That will involve the further expansion of omnichannel offerings, such as our ‘Digital Mall’, in order to link online and offline more closely. We are also focusing on the ongoing further development of our retail locations into vibrant marketplaces by constantly integrating new concepts, offerings, and uses, thus serving the needs of our customers anew. While a number of challenges await us in 2021, we see them as opportunities to further advance our brick-and-mortar business.”


Brendon O’Reilly

Managing Director of Fashion House Group

Outlets Weather the Storm

“The pandemic will continue to pose challenges right across the sector, but outlets are well positioned to weather the storm. Given consumers’ shopping constraints in 2020, we predict a surge in consumer spending in the second half of 2021, with brand/value a core driver in purchasing. The outlet sector is, therefore, likely to increase by 20/25 percent. Increased pressure on brands to liquidate unsold stock globally will continue to result in borders coming down and stock being distributed across countries. Local outlet space is simply not sufficient to shift the current levels of the surplus.”


Markus Porvari

Founder of HyperIn and Member of the ACROSS Advisory Board

Connecting the Digital and Physical Consumer Journey

“2021 marks the beginning of a new chapter in connecting the digital and physical consumer journeys. In the post-COVID-19 and eCommerce era, retail real estate businesses need to analyze their customers and campaigns by means of Big Data in order to create successful hyperlocal experiences. Social media influences and AI-generated trends drive consumer purchases today. Offering your mall’s existing products and services as a pick-up or home delivery is not enough if they do not attract customers in the first place. More efficient management and monetization of the property will be critical. With an advertising and specialty leasing sales platform, you can generate as much as a 10% annual increase in non-lease revenue to recover from 2020.”


Bettina Dablemont

COO of Advantail

Rising demand for socially responsible products

“Online commerce, the versatility of consumers, environmental pressure, and of course the 2020 health crisis make it imperative to find new ways to leverage attractiveness. In the field, providing daily operational support to our eight outlet centers and villages, we are preparing a ‘customer promise’ that is adapted to consumers’ needs. With the end of hyper-consumerism and rising demand for socially responsible products, the outlet sector is strengthened in its role as the cornerstone of the circular economy. We continue to have confidence in the factory outlet business model, and the long-established brand names that have integrated this distribution channel into their model are being joined by new brand names. We are the first to open a Decathlon store dedicated to second-hand merchandise. To speed up this transformation, Advantail is the first European operator to adopt a ‘raison d’être’, namely, to promote mindful consumption and responsible management of premises. It is by giving meaning to the premises that we will make them competitive.”


Andrey Kosarev

Managing Director of Colliers International St. Petersburg and Member of Colliers International Russia’s Board

Overview of the Situation in St. Petersburg

“The St. Petersburg retail real estate market is already saturated. The level of shopping center provision per capita remains one of the highest among megacities in Russia. At the same time, due to the low level of completions, the vacancy rate in the market remains quite low – around 5% for the average center and about 2% for the top 15 shopping centers, which means that we are looking at the current situation from a good position. However, the city government’s restrictions on shopping center operations were quite harsh during the first and second waves of Covid-19. As a result, developers and tenants are currently working very closely together. Developers are trying to keep cash flow as high as possible, while simultaneously giving discounts to tenants in order to keep them in the shopping centers.”


Judit Balatoni

Secretary General of MBSZ (Hungarian Council of Shopping Centers)

Gastronomy Is the Major Loser in Hungary

“2020 was a year of significant volatility in retail, even though the summer, after the first wave of the pandemic, looked relatively good from a footfall and sales perspective, and most involved parties were cautiously optimistic about the rest of the year. Visitor numbers averaged close to 80% and, at some centers, close to 100%, relative to the numbers reported for the same period last year. It can be noted that, as a result of the pandemic, the number of visitors to strip malls and retail parks recovered more quickly during the summer season, due to the availability of open-air parking and direct access to stores. The absence of tourists also affected the sales of downtown-based shopping centers. That was followed by September and October, which saw an increasing drop-off (especially for fashion retailers, shoe stores, and sporting goods stores) or, in the best case, stagnation (e.g., grocery stores, drugstores). At the beginning of December, most retailers were confident that sales for the entire year could be improved and that, at a minimum, annual income losses could be minimized before Christmas. In Hungary we are in a relatively good position as the only government restriction related to retail is that shops have to close at 7:00 PM, which was introduced during the second half of November. Major losers include food courts, gastronomy facilities, and cinemas, which were forced to close in early November. According to the government, mass vaccinations are due to begin in Q1 2021, and, with a bit of luck, a return to normal life will be seen in May or June. There is good news for the residents of Budapest: In Q3, a new center is scheduled to open in the south of Buda, covering some 55,000 sqm of GLA, and will feature the latest trends and top international brands.”


Sylvie Geuten-Carpentier

Co-CEO of Mitiska REIM

Resilient Retail Parks

“While the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in short-term disruption, we believe it will create longer-term opportunities for retail parks specifically and convenience real estate in general, which is precisely the segment of retail in which Mitiska REIM has a specialist capability and track record. Our experience across our portfolio, which is supported by industry research, is that retail parks have been the best performing and most resilient retail format, and we believe the underlying trends that have favored retail parks and convenience real estate will continue to drive growth in the coming years.”


Daniel Losantos

CEO of Neinver and Member of the ACROSS Advisory Board

Investing in Experience

“With Covid-19 still on the agenda, 2021 will be another challenging year. Brick-and-mortar is the essence of retail, but shoppers now prioritize convenience, ease, and a complete experience. Meeting demand will continue to require flexibility, creativity, the tools to listen to consumers, a strong brand offer, and investing in experience. Digital transformation, which sped up in 2020, will enable real-time information and data-backed decisions, and thus brand/consumer engagement. Retailers will still need flexible solutions to sell overstock, which will serve as a big opportunity for resilient outlet centers to attract new brands.”


Vitalii Boiko

CEO of NAI Ukraine

Focus on Transit-oriented Shopping Centers

“In 2020, retail in Ukraine was able to use the crisis to create new opportunities. Lack of shopping abroad (up to USD 10 billion annually), leisure, and new experiences, combined with deferred demand, contributed to a 7.6% sales growth of 10 million for 2020, compared to 2019. The Zara, H&M, Jysk, Mango, and Puma stores at Lavina Mall are among those stores that generated the best sales across Europe. Consumer behavior has changed, and we saw a decrease in the number of visitors. Supraregional mall performance is the best as such centers offer everything in one place and eliminate unnecessary additional visits. Blockbuster Mall, Phase 2, and Ocean Mall are all scheduled to open this year. In addition to regional malls, there are projects in the pipeline that save time and offer convenience: Transit-oriented malls, mixed-use Live.Work.Shop developments, and community centers. We hope that such growth, combined with low brand penetration, will help usher in new arrivals in 2021. We also expect omnichannel sales to strengthen and digital malls to be launched.”


Klaus Striebich

Managing Director of RaRE Advise and Member of the ACROSS Advisory Board

Traditional Approaches Are Being Abandoned

“There was no better testament to the speed and adaptability of retail than 2020, the ‘Year of the Coronavirus’. Demand levels, customer requirements, supply chains, trade processes, and the relationships between business partners in general have been put to the test, have undergone massive change and adaptation, and will certainly continue at the same rate over the next year. Traditional approaches are being abandoned, and new paths are being forged, albeit with different means and possibilities. The goal, however, remains the same: to fulfill the wishes, requirements, and desires of our customers – with whatever, whenever, or however we can.”


Thomas Reichenauer

Managing Director of ROS Retail Outlet Shopping and Member of the ACROSS Advisory Board

Embrace the Changes

“We certainly hope that all European countries will have the pandemic under control by the summer and that the recovery of the economies can begin soon. These uncertain times have encouraged price-conscious shopping behavior, as well as a change in demand in certain categories, which is something to keep an eye on. However, the European outlet market has shown resilience even in difficult economic times, and we are really proud of the opening of La Torre Outlet Zaragoza, a new generation of outlet villages equipped with an attractive food court, a unique leisure offer, and other retail and digital features. 2021 will be a special year for ROS Retail Outlet Shopping, as it marks our 10th anniversary, but it will also be a year of rethinking, rebuilding, and remarketing. The foundations of our future successful development are our brand partnerships, customer centricity, and ‘phygital’ retail approach, not to mention our approach to quality in all fields of operation. We are particularly looking forward to the opening of the center expansion at Designer Outlet Warsaw and the start of construction projects in Geislingen, Krakow, and Cotswolds. Premium outlet centers are and will remain an attractive asset class in the retail real estate sector.”


Petr Proy

Regional Director Germany & Austria of McArthurGlen

Viewing 2021 in a positive light

“In 2020, things changed so quickly, and we had to be more agile and innovative at much shorter notice. Thanks to our continued collaboration with our exceptional brand partners, investors, and employees, McArthurGlen views 2021 in a very positive light. We are pleased that our seventh UK center, Designer Outlet West Midlands, is due to open early next year as part of our on-going expansion program, and construction is underway on our new project in Normandy, near Paris – on track to open in 2022. Creating the finest retail experiences in order to make our guests’ days brighter is essential for 2021. We are proud to serve our customers with this mission in mind, while upholding our high standard of health and safety at all of our centers.”


Pavel Pelikan

Executive Director of JTRE

Tricky Predictions

“2020 will be an ambitious year for us: We want to work even more closely with customers, as a team, in order to satisfy their needs for quality and efficiency. It is important for us to expand in the area of pure property management. We now have close to 20 engagements in this field. We intend to become even more active in the area of construction services and projects. We are pleased that long-standing partners continue to place their trust in us. On December 15, 2019, Nuveen Real Estate commissioned us to manage the Campus Center Lübeck, and MEC will be responsible for property management on behalf of the KGAL Group at three additional locations.”


Christoph M. Achammer

CEO of ATP architekten ingenieure and Member of the ACROSS Advisory Board

Standstills Signify Regression

“The government-imposed measures have done little good for retail, but from the perspective of an optimistic placemaker, they have shown consumers what they would lose if brick-and-mortar retail ceased to exist. There is no one a in my circle who does not desperately miss the appeal of the social encounters that occur inside shopping places. Whether in a high-street environment or at a shopping mall, meeting, eating, and even shopping have proven to be basic needs that cannot be compensated for by means of digital ‘experiences’. Retail, on the other hand, and the shopping places in which it takes place, have been substantially driven to showcase innovation and to emphasize service. The past year has shown even the smallest real estate owner that standing still means going backwards, and that inflationary increases in real estate value at the expense of operators are unsustainable. That is why more than a thousand architects and engineers at ATP are looking forward to making the core operations of our retail clients even better by introducing new ideas in 2021.”


Peter Tonstad

CEO of Placewise Group and Member of the ACROSS Advisory Board

2021: A Look Forward

“The 2020 pandemic has accelerated digital trends and further blurred the line between physical and online retail, some say by as much as five years. This acceleration will continue through 2021, driven both by consumer preference as well as the interest of the global retail real estate industry in unlocking this new-found potential. 2021 will bring with it the first real examples of the shopping center of the future. Malls will become true digital Marketplaces in which a majority of products at shopping centers are available for online purchase, for pick up, or delivery in a multi-retailer shopping basket. The future is here.”


Marcus Wild

CEO of Spar Holding AG and Member of the ACROSS Advisory Board

A Return to Familiar Proximity Instead of Social Distance

“Covid-19 has divided the industry into winners and losers, and has led to the rethinking of business models. This year marks the dawn of the time for true entrepreneurs as well as innovative lateral thinkers, and 2021 promises to offer real opportunities. A pioneering spirit is required, because there is a lot of catching up to do. However, are consumers even interested in a return to meeting each other at vibrant meeting places? Can vaccinations deliver a return to long-term consumer habits, which have suffered so significantly as a result of the lockdowns? Ultimately, it is the vast array of consumer habits that make shopping destinations successful. We are convinced that social distancing will soon give way to a return to the closer proximities with which we are familiar. Our retail roots are our greatest strength, and our shopping locations are the most popular in their respective regions. We have entered the new year with confidence – together with our partners.”


Jan Tanner 

Founder of the Shopping Center Forum Switzerland and Member of the ACROSS Advisory Board

Mistakes become Insights

“What are commonly perceived as disorderly are, in fact, systems that behave differently. Henri Poincaré (1854 – 1912) even believed that small or unseen causes could result in considerable effects that could no longer be overlooked. As Poincaré argued, we can never measure things in this world accurately enough to be able to predict the future with certainty.In my opinion, that is just as well. Let us be pleasantly surprised by 2021. Let us have the courage to try out new things, to test them, and, if necessary, to reject them. Mistakes become valuable insights. Nothing can be taken for granted anymore. We appreciate it when Italians welcome us with a friendly ‘buonasera’. A walk to a jewelry store is celebrated: On the way there, a glass of champagne is sipped and tightly embraced – without a mask, but with bright lipstick. Yes, we appreciate and love life. Consumers who enjoy their shopping excursions do as well. The ‘customer journey’ has transformed into experiential shopping. Additional information on the Swiss market will be available on 6 May 2021 at the Shopping Center Forum (www.sc-forum.ch).“


Yovav Carmi

President of the Management Board at GTC

Continued Support of Tenants

“2020 proved to be quite difficult for the industry due to Covid-19, but GTC was well prepared to face the many challenges. Our office portfolio has weathered the storm, and occupancy remains at 94%. Without a doubt, Covid-19 has impacted our retail portfolio, but we have continued to support our tenants. Changes with regard to the major shareholder and management also occurred without disruption to operations. Last year saw an important milestone for the company: We received a BBB- investment grade from Scope Rating. We ended the year with the issuance of green bonds in the amount of EUR 110 million and have entered 2021 with a balanced real estate portfolio, ready for new acquisitions and challenges. Our success is attributable to the performance of our team, which has shown diligence and loyalty in these uncertain times.”


Bill Kistler

Managing Partner of Urban Ovation

2021: Renaissance Year

“Covid-19 has been a ‘Black Swan’ reminder that predicting the future is a fool’s errand. We reassure ourselves with hindsight that it has only accelerated trends we knew were coming. The profound reality of the pandemic is that it has shattered our belief in predictability. 2021 is the ‘end of the beginning’. Yes, there will be more pain, bankruptcies, and write downs, but it will also be a year of renaissance. Technology will not only disrupt what is ‘normal’, but will enable a new era of great innovation in the conception and use of place. 2021 is the dawn of the ‘age of the agile’, which will reward the creative and the bold!”


Christian Schröder (left) und Sebastian Kienert

COO und CEO der MEC

For the future of crisis-proof retail parks

“In the tenth year of our existence, we still keep moving ahead. 2021 will also be a year of change for MEC. Working as a team with our customers, we will continue to do everything in our power to manage and minimize the consequences of the pandemic in order to secure the future of crisis-proof retail parks. In addition, we will start extensive refurbishments in several centers, from conception to turnkey implementation. At the same time, we are further expanding our newly created property management business unit, which also provides professional management services for smaller retail locations. Internally, we will create modern working structures by relocating our corporate headquarters and the continued reorganization of our IT infrastructure, which will further enhance communication and cooperation–and thus help to increase customer satisfaction.”


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

Management MORE

Challenging Times for Leasing Departments

The primary focus remains on preventing further vacancies, reports Christine Hager, Managing Director of the redos Group. For the most part, the goal is being met by means of interim leases, for example, for pop-up stores, service concepts, and coronavirus quick-test centers.

People in move

Recruitments, promotions and appointments...

Food and Beverage Down Under

A look at Australia: A “Hospitality Mindset” to drive sales and deliver positive experiences in spite of Covid-19.

Vacant retail spaces as Instagrammable experiences

Although empty shop windows have always been part of running a shopping center, there are more around than most center managers might like. The good news is that they are opportunities to create bite-sized experiences that support the trend towards “shoppertainment”.

People in move

Recruitments, promotions and appointments...

“There is no Playbook for this Situation”

The most difficult part of business is making decisions during a crisis, explains Walter Seib, CEO of HMSHost International, with regard to the Covid-19 pandemic. He believes that as countries open up and vaccines become available, people will travel and return to airport F&B.