An increasing number of retailers and investors are stepping up cross border activity and international expansion in search of growth in response to downbeat economic sentiment in Europe, according to a new report from Cushman & Wakefield, 'What's in store for European retail 2012?'
Cushman & Wakefield expects to see international expansion move yet further up the agenda for the leading brands in 2012 but points out that retailers are still exercising caution and are actively evaluating their existing store portfolios to lessen costs and maximize margins where they can, with many restricting their focus to major global cities in the prime high street and shopping center locations.
However, whilst activity has in the main this year, been focused on core assets and locations, the less risk-averse retailers as well as some investors are starting to broaden their horizons in terms of target markets with many retailers in particular ready to again embrace emerging markets as well as looking at smaller towns in established markets. In all cases however, the focus for most is prime locations and well-configured property.
A focus on modern space ties in with retailers' need for efficiency, sustainability and for the integration of technology. However Cushman & Wakefield's `What's in store for European retail 2012?' report highlights the increasingly tight supply of prime space, with availability not helped by a trend for some retailers to buy their own freeholds.
Market access will not be made any easier by the limited development pipeline and the report suggests this will be a major challenge to retailers' expansion strategies. Furthermore, the currently projected delivery total of 6.8 million m