A new logistics real estate landscape - The impact of multi-channel retail on logistics | JLL

European retailers will need up to 25 million square meters of additional logistics space over the next five years, according to a new report by Jones Lang LaSalle. This equates to five million square meters of logistics space each year - enough to more than cover the whole of New York’s Central Park - for each of the next five years.

Demand is being driven both by the need to service existing stores and increasingly by a retail revolution caused by the growth of internet shopping, which is transforming the way goods are distributed to customers. With online sales predicted to almost double in the first half of this decade, e-tailing is creating new demands for warehouse space, including mega sites of over 100,000 square meters, specialist distribution centers and smaller, local delivery depots.

In its report, A new logistics real estate landscape, Jones Lang LaSalle says that around three million square meters of specialized space is going to be needed for dedicated e-fulfilment centers  dealing solely with online demand. Another 22 million square meters is needed for store replenishment, though retailers are increasingly moving to a fully integrated “omni-channel” customer offer, where customers buy in-store, online or via mobiles and either have their purchases delivered to their home or pick-up from stores or dedicated delivery centers.

With online retail expected to exceed 10% of all sales in Europe by 2016, the way goods are distributed and delivered by retailers is changing with the following trends identified:

· Growing demand for mega e-fulfilment centers coupled with increasing demand for parcel hubs to handle delivery. Increased use of robots in warehouses to pick goods, normally working alongside exiting staff rather than as a replacement;

· Greater use of “dark stores” to service online food orders;

Says Paul Betts, Head of EMEA Logistics & Industrial at Jones Lang LaSalle: “While traditional retailing is still driving demand for retail infrastructure, the growth of online is fundamentally changing the size and shape of distribution centers and where they are located. Many retailers have outgrown their existing supply chain infrastructure and are having to work out the best logistics model to service the growth of multi-channel retailing. Their strategy will depend on the type of products, the volume of internet sales handled and the speed at which these are growing.”

Jones Lang LaSalle sees demand for massive e-fulfilment centers of over 100,000 square meters – such as the 128,000 square meters building by e-tailer Zalando in Erfurt, Germany. These giant centers will typically be built to suit facilities requiring significant plots of land and good access to a large labour supply due to have high staffing levels. Jones Lang LaSalle predicts an increased use of robots, which in some cases have been able to improve the efficiency of order picking in warehouses by as much as 500%.

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