What is EHL involved in at the moment and what sets it apart from the competition?
Based on over 20 years of retail experience, we understand the need for frequency of tenants as well as the return requirements of landlords. EHL offers a number of crucial services, including strategic support in finding the right location, national and international branch network optimisation, retailer and operator location conceptualisation, retail investment, solitary location leasing, valuation of retail properties, and independent location optimisation consultancy services.
EHL’s real estate offerings include a multitude of objects at diverse locations in several sizes and price categories. Additionally, these objects are applicable to a broad range of businesses. EHL’s customers benefit from the European market and brand know-how of the retail experts.
In an uncertain economic period, what are the main assets that a company should have in order to invest successfully in retail?
To invest successfully in retail, much like any other business, you need to know your customers, understand their clients, and comprehend what drives the business as a whole. Once you have all these assets on board (or you know a trustworthy third party to supply them for you) then, much like any other investment question, timing becomes the most important factor. Try to anticipate future developments, whether they be macroeconomic or merely a minor location issue lurking just around the corner. This last point applies more directly to retail, as it is a crucial factor for success: around the corner may not just be a few metres away, but may result in being totally off-pitch and thus without any customers at all.
What do you think are the main differences between the way retailers are selecting their locations now compared to five years ago?
A few trends have come forward over the past five years, such as the focus on prime stock (whether it be shopping centre, retail warehouse park, or high street) continuing to increase. When the prime marketing question for online and offline retailers becomes showing off merchandise, the trend towards “good, better, best” increases.
Secondly, retailers that are expanding have become even more focused than before, following the rule that choosing not to realise a location may sometimes be the best choice of all.
Thirdly, with lease terms becoming shorter, flexibility in or around a store has increased in importance, and online and offline have come together as a classic multichannel business, which is also reflected in the selection process of growing retailers.
What are the advantages of the Austrian retail market in comparison to other CEE countries?
Austria has always been seen as a safe haven both from an investor’s, but also from a retailer’s perspective. Its stable political and economic environment, as well as its participation in the tremendously large German-speaking retail market, have been perceived by market players as attractive market conditions. The fact that both Vienna and Salzburg are extremely attractive tourist destinations, especially for cross-border tourism (with 12.8 million overnight stays in Vienna in 2014), has brought forth additional sales potential, particularly in the upper class retail segment and will continue to do so in the future.
Which categories of retailers are going to dominate the market in the next few years?
The market will be dominated by those retailers that best understand the needs and demands of their customers. Internationalisation in the days of worldwide communication will clearly be a factor for success. Incorporating lucrative multichannel strategies will be an absolute necessity. The ability for customers to interact with their favourite brands in a well-designed, exciting, and culturally-rich environment will be clearly dominating factors for the foreseeable future. The retailers that can implement these tools to their best advantage will - in the medium term - command the market.
EHL Immobilien GmbH
T: +43 1 512 76 90