This was still subject to the competition law approval of the EU Commission, however, because with 38 locations at the time, MEC already was the market leader in the retail park segment. It was the first time that the Commission had investigated the management of retail park properties from the perspective of competition law. On 1 November 2011, the Competition Commission then gave the green light, and MEC was unconditionally permitted to commence operations.
The start-up period
“Despite the fact that we have two strong parent companies behind us, the start-up period was very exciting. Everything first needed to be developed and built up: the entire corporate identity, from the logo to swearing in the team to achieve a common goal,” remembers Schröder.
From today’s perspective, it is clear that the company was founded at the right time. The requirements for the market players have increased and, parallel to this development, so has the need of investors to get a professional partner on their side for the operation of retail parks.
From the very beginning, MEC also endeavoured to contribute to ensuring the transparency of the market for retail parks. By means of the reports “Fachmarktzentren in Deutschland” (retail parks in Germany) published annually, and through active participation in numerous industry associations like the ZIA and the GCSC, the involvement of MEC employees in debates has an opinion-forming effect.
The key to success
“Listening and understanding what the customers want, that has been our key to success to date,” explains Sebastian Kienert, CFO of MEC, describing the recipe for success.
We have a total of 14 different business partners, from the family office to institutional funds, and they have very varied demands in terms of service performance and reporting.
MEC therefore structures its range of services to be flexible and location-specific. Furthermore, all departments contribute their experience to the further development of the locations.
“Just like a car or a smartphone, we also think of our centers as products that need to be positioned appropriately to the target groups and the competition in the market environment,” explains Moritz Felix Lück, Head of Marketing & PR.
“Our progress confirms and encourages us in the systematic further development of our business model,” says Kienert. “In our current portfolio, we still see a lot of potential that we want to realise with our clients, whether in the form of project developments, energy-saving measures with the help of EASY (Energy Audit System by MEC), or service measures to increase visitor frequency,” adds Schröder. Taking over further locations, and thus promoting the healthy growth of MEC, is also amongst the objectives of the retail park specialist.
On its 5th birthday, MEC METRO-ECE Centermanagement GmbH & Co. KG looks back on a success story
The takeover of 16 new properties (+42%), more than €3 billion of assets under management (+20%), and 940 leasing partners (+23%), generating annual revenues of €3 billion (+11%).