By Reinhard Winiwarter, Publisher ACROSS Magazine
A certain report causes quite the stir in the German shopping center industry. To be more specific, we are talking about the Shopping Center Performance Report by the consulting company ecostra from Wiesbaden, Germany, that triggered great resentment among industry colleagues.
As its title implies, the report was supposed to reflect one thing in particular: the performance of shopping centers. Its critics doubt that it does. The data pool used for the report’s preparation is founded exclusively on a survey of tenants and retailers regarding their relative turnover. Is that enough, however, to unerringly create a ranking of the best or worst performing centers in Germany? Many experts say that it is not and I understand them all too well. First of all, these tenant surveys are voluntary. This means that not all tenants had to feel like sharing their turnover and performance data with ecostra. Secondly, lumping them all together for this survey makes it near impossible to assess or grade the quality of the surveyed retailers. And we all know that evaluating shopping centers with one-dimensional valuation methods is diametrically opposed to today’s diversity as well as the current requirements of retail locations. Certainly, an annually prepared performance report for shopping centers may get picked up by the daily press as an entertaining filler–but that does not make the report any more consistent or informative.
Maybe ecostra’s experts will revise their valuation methods or rename it to what it might actually be: a tenant survey. After all, well-founded and fact-based reports are definitely in demand in an increasingly professionalizing industry.
Publisher of ACROSS Magazine