Another year, another Mapic! I have been attending the European property industry’s annual soirée in Cannes for over 15 years now, and in that time have witnessed a lot of change.
Attendance at the event peaked in 2008 but since the ‘crash’ dropped considerably. Numbers rose from 2012 onwards but in both 2015 and 2016 saw them drop again due to the recent terrorist attacks in France.
This hasn’t stopped a very senior group of European property owners, retailers and agents attending however - with an increasing amount of delegates from the US and other non-European markets.
This was also the first time in Harper Dennis Hobbs’ history that we have taken a stand at Mapic - testament to how much the business has grown, and our faith in Mapic - which is the biggest event in our annual retail calendar by far.
Our HDH retailer-only dinner on the Wednesday evening was as ever the highlight - with 70+ retailer clients in attendance it felt like most of the retailers that had made the trip to Mapic were there. While the votes for Brexit and Trump were clearly major topics of conversation, there were plenty of positive conversations around retailer expansion in both existing and new markets.
One fashion brand we are working with will open its first store on Oxford Street next year and that will be the first of many they will open in the UK - illustrative of the faith of many retailers have in Britain, despite the Brexit vote.
I also participated in a panel session on ‘tracking global retail performance’; organised by the New West End Company.
This highlighted how London - like New York, Paris and other ‘flagship’ cities - will continue to grow stronger and stronger. This is principally down to the huge amount of demand from ‘non-traditional’ retailers for space in high footfall locations to ‘advertise’ their brand to a large shopper base.
This includes online pure plays such as Misguided and Poetry opening their first physical stores, but more importantly brands that traditionally wholesale their products such as M&M’s, Haagen-Dazs, Nespresso, Magnum and maybe even Barbie opening stores.
These brands, along with more traditional physical retailers such as Nike and Estée Lauder recognise the ‘halo’ benefits of a prominent physical store on their other distribution channels, such as department store concessions, wholesale and e-commerce.
This is why, despite Brexit, the future will continue to be bright for the UK’s premier retail destinations, and for comparable retail venues across the wider European marketplace.