I hope for greater awareness of the longer-term strength of flagship retail destinations and their appeal to shoppers and retailers.
This doesn’t mean we’re complacent about the retail climate. We will continue to deliver great experiences by ensuring that the latest brands are drawn to our venues and we rotate out tired formats. Retail has always been a dynamic sector and now more than ever we’ll review and evolve our strategy to ensure it can respond to changing conditions, while targeting growth for shareholders.
The uncertainty arising from Brexit and relatively weak consumer environment are likely to lead to further retail failures and CVAs. Nevertheless, we have a healthy pipeline of leasing enquiries and I expect to have another solid year bringing retailers into our portfolio. The outlook for luxury outlets, Ireland and France is less constrained with relative positive consumer sentiment in those markets.
Resolution: We had a lot keeping us busy last year, so I’m enjoying spending more time in our destinations. It also keeps my step count up following LandAid’s Steptober Challenge! In a challenged environment, it’s not just about a laser-sharp focus on budgets and out-turns; it’s important to still give yourself time to consider major trends and see the portfolio in real life.
David Atkins, chief executive of Hammerson
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2019 forecasts: what lies ahead
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2019 forecast: David Atkins (Hammerson)