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Pleasant but not so hot on the Riviera

23 November 2017

This year’s international retail fair resembled the situation on the European market: slightly subdued but still interesting

“Perhaps we will do some business with Mayland – or maybe buy Amazon?” joked Rafał Sonik, the owner of Gemini Holding, at Poland’s opening party at MAPIC 2017. This whimsical proposal certainly reflected the spirit of the largest shopping centre fair in Europe, where business and pleasure are perfectly mixed. The party, held by Gemini Holding and Mayland Real Estate, was a good warm-up for all the business talk that was to take place over the next two days. According to the organiser of the meeting in Cannes, MAPIC generally attracts app. 8,500 guests, 1,000 of whom are investors and 2,100 are tenants. However, this year’s event fell somewhat short in this respect, with several of the regular attendees pointing out that the number of visitors was by no means a record one. There were also fewer events, cocktail parties, business breakfasts and presentations. This was particularly evident when it came to the Polish market. MAPIC reflects the retail climate in individual countries. Polish and Russian projects, which in recent years have stood out from the crowd, were less visible – a reflection of how the sector has now developed in both counties. The mature and increasingly saturated Polish market did not have any major surprises in store for MAPIC’s visitors in terms of new of future projects. However, business talk was taking place at the stands of developers and investors who hold assets in Poland, where you could see how much work the agents were having to do in an atmosphere that was not as jolly or full of optimism as it has been in previous years. This year’s event also reflected the trends that are currently shaping retail markets across Europe. Zones were set up especially for the entertainment in shopping centres, where you could see the stands of all kinds of leisure operators, especially those that especially cater for the younger kind of clientele: playgrounds, children’s party rooms, as well as fun trains and mini merry-go-rounds. The food and beverages section also looked interesting, featuring all the latest restaurant concepts. Companies offering the latest technological systems for the servicing of shops and centres also had their place. Prominent among these were those offering data collection systems for recording how customers move around a mall. At the fair you could also listen to presentations on the development of the sector in certain countries as well as the trends that are currently shaping retail in shopping centres. The Polish market was discussed by Radosław Knap of Polskiej Rady Centrów Handlowych (PRCH), Patric Delcol (BNP Paribas Real Estate and PRCH), Mariusz Kozłowski (Liebrecht & Wood), Marek Błędowski (Apsys Polska) and Maciej Kiełbicki (Mayland Real Estate). All of them agreed that in order for a centre to be successful it now has to have a superior range of retail. New formats and concepts are also an opportunity for retailers. Three Polish representatives of the sector were entered for this year’s MAPIC Awards: Reserved (Retailer of The Year), Posnania (Best New Shopping Centre) and Centrum Praskie Koneser (Best Retail Urban Project). Unfortunately, the gongs this time around went to other nominees.

They used to say that if you are not at MAPIC you are not on the market. These days this is no longer the rule, as can clearly be seen. However, you cannot deny that MAPIC still generates the perfect mood for developing relationships between companies and networking, where people are eager to meet and discuss business in the easy and casual atmosphere of the fair. You can certainly still meet new market players here and make new and valuable business contacts.
Aneta Cichla

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