The shopping centre industry is experiencing the toughest time in its 50-year history. The annual ICSC European Conference, in Berlin from 18-20 April, invites the industry’s most senior players to plot the road ahead.
An ICSC study published in 2008 estimated nearly a quarter of retail sales in Europe occurred in shopping centres, and shopping centres employed 4 million European workers – a fifth of retail employment. Since then shopping centres have multiplied and with that their impact on European economies.
Shopping developments expanded as international retailers demanded more space. Now some retailers are reducing their shop footprint due to increased internet sales, producing unexpected opportunities for shopping centres such as ‘click and collect’. This year’s conference theme is: ‘Is Big Beautiful’? Are such formats sustainable and can smart cities accommodate big retail formats?
According to Patrick Delcol, Chair of the ICSC 2012 European Conference Planning Committee and Country Head of Poland DTZ, a fragmented industry approach will delay retail recovery. “Eurozone Countries are warning against the ‘each man for himself’ approach,” he said. “The Eurozone must survive. As a cross-border industry, retail is important for employment, investment and boosts local economies.”
Alexander Otto, Marcus Wild and Gerard Groener are amongst speakers debating the issues. Others include David Henry, President of Kimco Realty Corporation, Mike Kercheval, President and CEO of ICSC and Anne Kavanagh, CEO of AXA France.
Delcol added: “The retail industry must play its part in the Eurozone recovery, and that means working together in the same room, in the same city at the same time.”