In a move that will significantly strengthen the voice of the shopping center industry at the heart of Europe, the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and the German Council of Shopping Centers (GCSC) have signed an agreement to work much more closely together.
The announcement was made during ICSC's RECon, the world's largest retail real estate convention. The agreement, effective immediately, makes GCSC a Member Company of ICSC and the nearly 700 company-strong GCSC membership will become associate members of ICSC, receiving all member benefits.
"This is a momentous step in creating a pan-European collaboration producing positive changes for the shopping center industry," said Michael P. Kercheval, president and CEO of ICSC. "ICSC and GCSC are confident that other countries and shopping center councils will follow to form greater and stronger collaborative efforts. On behalf of our worldwide membership I would like to officially welcome GCSC members to ICSC."
The management of the agreement and the expanded membership base will be handled by ICSC's European office in London.
ICSC Europe's new Managing Director, Michael Morrissey, said: "This agreement will strengthen our voice in Brussels and across Europe at a time when Europe, more than ever, needs to understand the critical economic role the shopping center industry plays across the whole the region. It will also foster better communication among European shopping center professionals."
ICSC's international membership has grown, and the addition of the approximately 1,500 members from GCSC is a continuation of that trend, bringing ICSC's European total membership to over 3,000."
"This agreement will benefit both councils, our newly created joint membership base and the whole shopping center industry," said Stephan Jung, President of GCSC. "I hope it will lay the framework for an even further unified approach."