RETAIL WATCH People, planet… profit?

This year’s MAPIC, the 26th edition of the retail real estate event in Cannes, has set itself a greater challenge than ever. 

‘Our theme is “people, planet, profit”, underlining the fact that there’s never been a better time for the retail industry to reassess its priorities,’ says Francesco Pupillo, MAPIC markets director.

He adds: ‘The entire retail industry has endured two of the most challenging years in its history, with many major transformations. Next generation retail will be about putting people and the planet first - the consumer is now looking for deeper meaning in what they do and what they buy, whilst businesses need to add a social role to have genuine social impact.

‘MAPIC will emphasise the new ways of doing business, with more flexible models that will allow industry players to meet current customer needs.’

MAPIC, taking place from 29 November until 1 December, is expecting to be somewhat ‘business as usual’ in terms of its size and layout, with the exhibition occupying the upper floors of the Palais des Festivals once again in addition to the lower levels, and over 6,000 delegates expected.

The MAPIC Awards will also be back in their fullest iteration. Yet, in other ways, the events of the past few years mean that the retail-focused show will be quite a different animal.

‘It is clear that the e-commerce trend – which is expected to represent 25% of all retail sales in the coming years – is here to stay, with huge consequences for the retail industry.

'All retailers are seeking to optimise the consumer’s omnichannel journey. That means retail real estate will be increasingly flanked by other uses and require different skillsets. The majority of new, retail-led projects being developed are mixed-use in nature. MAPIC is evolving to reflect that,’ Pupillo adds.

The occupier angle
One consequence of retail’s evolution is the growing emphasis on leisure occupiers, and the greater portion of consumer spending allotted to experiences, including food and beverage (F&B) expenditure. ‘The leisure area – dubbed LeisurUp – will be larger than ever before, featuring 50 exhibitors,’ notes Pupillo.

Meanwhile, MAPIC’s F&B event-within-the-event, The Happetite, will again focus on expansion opportunities for restaurant concepts and chains in retail and urban destinations. This year’s gathering will showcase everything from new business models to innovation in areas such as reducing food waste.

Several famous restaurants chains are expected to be in attendance, with a closed-door lunch for private equity and another private multi-franchise event also planned as part of the programme.

Many other retail occupiers will be showcased at the MAPIC Retail Village, a new installation at this year’s exhibition. This area is designed to promote rising concepts, digital marketplaces, fast delivery specialists and DNVB (Digital Native Vertical Brands).

MAPIC will use its platform to show how a new generation of retailers, many who started life online, are rewriting and redefining the retail landscape – and appealing to an increasingly ethical consumer.

Planetary plan
Improvements in ESG strategies are also set to be a key aspect of the event. According to CBRE's 2021 Global Investor Intentions Survey, while 60% of industry players are already integrating ESG criteria into their business plans, there remains much to be done.

Yet there is growing evidence that professionals, developers, investors, and brands are all exploring how to reduce natural resources and promote waste reduction, energy efficiency, ethical sourcing, and community engagement.??

‘ESG isn’t just about taking care of the planet – it also offers opportunities to create more efficient businesses that are more profitable in the long run. There’s also a growing need for landlords to be flexible in leasing arrangements and invite brands to collaborate in new ways of working,’ Pupillo adds.

Innovation and transformation
Like many aspects of the real estate industry, the retail property world is being propelled into the future thanks to technology and innovative thinkers. MAPIC’s Innovation Forum will focus on the digital dimension and how it is solving key problems faced by the industry.

From the integration of phygital channels, to improving the consumer experience, tech has become the essential backbone driving the future of the retail trade.

According to Pupillo, in a moment of wider macro-economic pain for consumers in Europe, the industry’s evolution is more vital than ever. ‘Higher costs are affecting simply everyone. Even our energy expenses for MAPIC will be much greater this year,’ he notes.

‘The industry must be sensible to the consumer impact as while inflation is shooting up, salaries are not keeping pace. Although energy price caps are on the table, the industry is expecting a tough winter so resilience will again be the watchword. I think that brands will have to adapt in terms of pricing as industry cannot keep passing everything on to the consumer. However, I expect the retail industry to explore solutions and emerge stronger into 2023.’



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