MAPIC 2019: over 8,200 participants

The cold and rainy weather, both in Cannes and in the retail sector, did not conspire to spoil the MAPIC fair this year

What is it that summed up the mood at MAPIC this year? “Everyone has a slightly looser agenda” – I was told by a Polish developer when I asked what she thought about this year’s event. Why looser? “Retail’s not in vogue today,” she replied diplomatically. Whether in vogue or not, it has to be said that MAPIC has been cannily holding its own in a period of plummeting investor sentiment. “In an environment where the sector is going through a transformation, MAPIC is proud to announce that year we have attracted more than 8,200 participants from over 80 countries to take part in the most important event in the retail property calendar. Among these there were more than 2,000 retailers, 2,200 developers and 1,200 investors – all reflecting upon, discussing and debating issues related to the ever-evolving retail market,” says Séverine Menut, a senior sales director at MAPIC. Although the event brought together around 300 fewer participants than last year, there was an increase in the number of exhibitors from Poland. As well as Atrium Poland Real Estate Management, Fashion House Group (Liebrecht and Wood), Trei and Applink (which creates educational play areas for children), Echo Investment, which last year was conspicuous by its absence, took to the MAPIC stage with an impressive presentation of its Towarowa 22 project, Panattoni (for the first time, promoting space for e-commerce) there were five technology companies. This is a trend that can be seen not only in Poland but also in other countries with 40 such companies exhibiting this time compared to 30 last year. AI customer tracking systems were the eye-opener of this year’s fair. Computers can recognise and track individual shoppers as they move in and out of the range of different cameras following them as they move around a centre.

The increasing importance of leisure is another clear trend on the market and this year MAPIC devoted a whole day to the sector, before the main fair began. Around 900 people attended Leisure Day. Next year the organisers want to go a step further and hold a two-day LeisurUp fair (November 17–18th, 2020) – which is to take place in parallel with the main part of the fair, however it won’t be held in the Palais des Festivals but nearby on the La Pantiero promenade by the marina. “MAPIC do not focus anymore only on shopping centres but on new life style destinations combining theme parks, live entertainment, culture, VR… to name a few,” claims Séverine Menut. The LeisurUp fair is part of a diversification strategy that MAPIC embraces to respond to the challenges of the industry. The strategy includes not only LeisurUp but also The Happetite (also known as the MAPIC Foods fair) which is also to take place in Milan on 28–29th April, together with MAPIC Italy. MAPIC also holds separate fairs in Moscow (April) and in Mumbai (September).

This year’s fair in Cannes was also one of the coldest to date, but Atrium Poland Real Estate Management were lucky because the evening party that they hold every year was on the first day before the heavy rains started to fall and it attracted a large number of the Polish people at the fair. It could be said that it has already become the main annual Polish fixture at MAPIC. Another Polish event, which this time was co-organised by Eurobuild CEE was the Polish panel session, which as usual included discussions about the situation on the Polish market. This was the first time that Panattoni Europe took part, with its managing director Marek Dobrzycki sitting on one of the panels. Although Panattoni is the biggest developer in Europe in terms of the amount of warehouse space delivered, its main focus remains Poland and the CEE region. Other, panellists during the Polish session included Magdalena Bartkiewicz-Podoba of Liebrecht & Wood and Anna Malcharek of Gemini Holding, with the panel moderated by Rafał Ostrowski of Eurobuild CEE. All in all, the fair was as always an opportunity to build relationships (someone once said that anyone who isn’t at the fair, doesn’t exist) and become acquainted with what’s happening with the latest technology. When it came to the meetings, their number was mainly dependent on how much preparation had been done. So as one major developer explained to me, “We did a good job before leaving and we’re very pleased with the business we’ve generated.”