The new retail mix - Can you future-proof?

Joao Cepeda, President and Creative Director, Time Out Market

“We think we can future proof our investment because our model is extremely flexible, and prepared to rapidly change whenever needed. And our curation staff are incentivised to read societal signs in a different way than any commercial team. Honest research work, plus professional and unbiased journalism, should enable us to anticipate the more relevant consumer challenges.”


Myf Ryan, Strategic Marketing, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield

“We’re always exploring the ways consumers will be shopping and living in the future and using those insights to shape our strategy and our developments.”

Our ‘Destination 2028’ concept is the perfect example, revealing how retail destinations might look in the next 10 years. We also have our How We Shop research platform, through which we continue to identify trends and create solutions. These have included The Trending Store at Westfield London, the UK’s first AI-powered fashion store, which stocked items that were selling well online. It’s one example of the trends already shaping the future at our flagship destinations, which span beyond the traditional shopping centre offering.

Lorraine Dieulot, Real Estate Director, Saguez & Partners

new retail mix“No one can forecast the future but our role as designer and architect is to enable it!”

“So tomorrow’s questions are about reversibility, restructuring of existing assets and sustainability problems.”

“And for the end-user, the main concerns will always remain the accessibility, quality and easy to use. Our ambition is to create durable and quality places with an identity that will stand the test of time and generate strong bonds with the users and inhabitants.”

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Milen Gentchev, Global Operations Director, Ingka Centres

Modern mixed-use also needs to be flexible and adaptable, with consideration for a building’s longer term lifecycle. Placemaking is another important part of ensuring mixed-use projects can stand the test of time. In Russia, we interviewed 110,000 MEGA mall customers to understand their demands and responded to them by creating experiential ‘places’ that can’t be replicated online. This led us to introducing MEGA Parks – state of the art parks with areas for sports, ice rinks, playgrounds and green spaces, alongside event spaces for community groups and partners. Spaces like these are timeless.”

“Addressing the digitalisation of retail is also fundamental. The key lies in embracing digitalisation, not seeing it as a threat.”

milen gentchev on the new retail mix

“Remember, technology enables us to collect data and be closer to our customers than ever before. Landlords can use it to help tenants understand their customers better, and connect with them in a way they haven’t been able to before. But above all, foresee trends and adapt their asset’s offering accordingly.”
“Asset owners must also pay attention to technology-led offerings. This is particularly important if major capex is being considered to develop tech-based entertainment, edutainment or virtual reality. How easily can it be updated? Is it catering to a long-term trend or just a passing fad? Will non-digital assets such as skate parks or flexible pop-up space actually be easier to update and better for the long term?”

Nabil Slitine, Chairman & CEO, M Avenue

“The main criteria to future proof our investment is to make sure the real estate component has a strong market plan. It is almost impossible nowadays to develop a project and not to pre-reserve, in order to test the market even before the construction phase begins.”

“With regards to the evolving tastes and needs, this makes our development team always work harder in anticipating the new trends in our markets as well as to be creative with new customer experiences.”

Olivier Bossard, Group Chief Development Officer, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield

oliver on the new retail mix

“A project often takes 10 to 12 years to open, which means that several time horizons have to be reconciled. On the one hand, our projects aim to meet the long-term expectations of a territory by creating mixed spaces, which reinvent the way we live together and bring daily benefits to the people of a city or region, while offering them extraordinary entertainment and experiences. On the other hand, we regularly review these projects to adapt them to the evolving expectations of visitors. “
“To do this, we combine an approach of listening and dialogue in the field with the perspectives of our research and innovation teams, who study consumer trends and refine customer knowledge through data. We have also launched the URW Grand Prix Commerce to identify young brands with high potential that will make the trade of tomorrow.”

About Author

Mark Faithfull is Editor of the MAPIC Preview and News Magazines, as well as Editor of online publication and analysis specialist Retail Property Analyst.

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