Reflecting the pace at which retail real estate is evolving, this year’s MAPIC showcased the first International Outlet Summit and the inaugural Global Retail Partner Summit, while expanding its Leisure and Innovation exhibition zones and positioning food and beverage (F&B) as the central theme.
China is a particularly promising market for outlets. Lois Lu Yi, VP of Beijing Capital Grand, the Hong Kong-based investment holding company principally engaged in the development and investment of properties, revealed at the International Outlet Summit that the company has increased its number of planned outlets to meet rising demand in this fast-evolving sector. “Outlets are growing at about 34 per cent a year in China, higher than the 8 per cent of department stores, 29 per cent of shopping malls and 29 per cent of online retailers,” Lois Lu Yi explained, “Recently, with the consumers’ pursuit of brands, outlets will usher in the first golden period of development with the market reaching maturity within 5 years.”
Director of MAPIC Markets Nathalie Depetro also announced a new event – MAPIC Food & Beverage – which will launch next year as a result of the F&B concepts increasingly dominating commercial centres and high streets worldwide. The conference, separate to MAPIC Italy, will take place on May 23 – 24 in Milan’s MiCo Milano Congress and showcase the international retail F&B sector.
Day one of MAPIC commenced with a keynote discussion between McKinsey & Company’s Franck Laizet and the highly-acclaimed Managing Director of Alibaba France, Sébastien Badault – the two spoke on the topic of Reimagining Retail in the 21st Century. Badault said that while physical retail is not dead, it is definitely gravitating online, adding “We are going through a major reconfiguration of the network” by way of new concepts, formats and store reconfiguration, in order to optimise consumer experience and spending power. He also focused on the notion of brands needing to look at new ways of merging ecommerce and experience, which Alibaba is spearheading via the introduction of advanced technology including magical mirrors and artificial intelligence.
This year’s MAPIC also confirmed the pivotal role that leisure is playing within commercial centres, as landlords look to leisure experts to design, build and deliver turnkey solutions. Approximately 30 companies specialising in leisure entertainment were housed in the Leisure zone.
Panel speakers discussing leisure in retail destinations also agreed that experiences have become one of the main drivers for visiting shopping centres today. Consumers are looking for enjoyable experiences to share. In fact, leisure within malls has created a new target market – attracting customers from a much wider catchment, while malls have also become places families visit to spend quality time together.