Shadow and light

As they do every year, in November representatives of the retail sector met on the French Riviera. This Mapic meeting, however, was quieter and more subdued due to the attacks in Paris. Was it worth going to Cannes? Those who attended invariably claim that it was definitely worth it – and the list of reasons for this is long

Between November 18th and November 20th, the Côte d’Azur was taken over by people connected with the retail business: the representatives of retail chains, consultants, developers, architects... These included regular visitors (e.g. Aleksandra Zentile-Miller, director of Chapman Taylor) and newcomers (e.g. Marcin Baczewski, also of Chapman Taylor). “Is it worth going to Mapic? The answer is always the same – yes, it is. Why? Among other things because the intensity of the contacts and relations gives them greater dynamism – this generates energy and requires creativity; while the interaction of representatives of various parties and sectors often creates a new quality. This inspires and engenders ad hoc ideas. It is always worth seeing what others are doing and how they are doing it: you can and should see the new stuff, get a feel for the trends, find out what makes the market tick and what its immediate and more distant future will be like. And, of course, it is worth catching some sunshine in Cannes in the middle of November, among the blooming violets, clematises and the orange trees bearing fruit, and gazing upon the azure water in the bay. The light and colour are always refreshing for designers,” effused Chapman Taylor’s representatives. Architects are always looking for inspiration, creating the designs that developers bring back to France a few months or years later to present them to potential tenants and others at Mapic. “In spite of the tragic events preceding the fair, I believe that this year’s Mapic was very successful for us. We had the opportunity to showcase our projects – apart from Serenada we presented our project for Fort Wola, which we want to launch in 2016. It was also an excellent opportunity to ‘test’ the concepts of our retail parks in Zabrze, Wrocław and Rzeszów. Mapic is a great opportunity to exchange views on the market – you can find out what tenants’ growth plans are and how they want to operate. What surprised me was the great interest and activity of the investors there,” emphasises Maciej Kiełbicki (Mayland Real Estate). There were more novelties at the fair. “We presented our two new projects that we are currently developing in Warsaw: Galeria Północna and Galeria Wilanów. During the fair we were able to boast the more than 50 pct occupancy of Galeria Północna and announce the first Forever 21 store in Poland, which is to be opened as soon as mid-2017 when Galeria Północna opens. The weather was also good this year,” was how Jacek Wachowicz of GTC summed up the event. He went on to add that last year’s Mapic seemed quieter than previous ones. The tragic events in Paris cast a shadow on the fair. Many participants possibly cancelled their trips at the last minute for this reason, while a number of accompanying events were cancelled or scaled down. Gemini Holdings was one of those showing sensitivity for the attack victims by cancelling an evening event on a yacht. Nonetheless, the developer welcomed all the visitors to the yacht with open arms, because in their opinion meetings held on yachts are more comfortable and effective due to the peaceful and quiet conditions. During the fair, Gemini Holding showcased its planned Gemini Park Tychy shopping centre for the second time. “We have acquired new business partners and are in negotiations aimed at finalising contracts with two large tenants: an Empik and a Smyk outlet. We have also managed to secure other tenants, which we will be able to reveal the identities of soon. The centre will be designed based on the omnichannel model, which we are currently working on. The idea of omnichannel retail trade is to guarantee greater freedom and independence to customers. Because the construction work will soon be launched on Gemini Park Tychy and its opening is planned for Q2 2017, we were there to increase the awareness of this project,” commented Anna Malcharek, the managing director of Gemini Holding.

The fair is not just about negotiations and (in the evening) more-or-less formal talks, but was also an opportunity to extend one’s knowledge through the theme sessions organised as part of the three-day event. One of these was a panel discussion held by Echo Investment and
BNP Paribas Real Estate, entitled ‘Polish Your Retail’, which took place on November 19th. The introduction to the discussion was a presentation of key data on the Polish retail marketprepared by Radosław Knap of the Polish Council of Shopping Centres, which was partnering the event. “In terms of maturity, the Polish shopping centre market is similar to its Czech counterpart, even though it is much larger. It is a saturated market and the majority of development activity as well as the openings of new shopping centres are now mostly taking place in smaller towns. Meanwhile, the existing retail stock in the largest cities requires repositioning or extension in order to reach at least critical mass due to the growing competition and saturation,” stressed Patric Decol (the Polish Council of Shopping Centres and BNP Paribas Real
Estate Poland), before expanding on the topic of enlarging shopping centres and their revitalisation.

The discussion panel, which was moderated by Ewa Andrzejewska (‘Eurobuild Central & Eastern Europe’), also included: Marcin Materny, the director of Echo Investment’s shopping centre department, Fabrice Paumelle (BNP Paribas Real Estate), Radosław Knap, (the Polish Council of  Shopping Centres), Olivier Gerald-Coester (Mayland Real Estate), Andrzej Uryga (Dairy Queen) and Krzysztof Bocianowski (LPP). The next Mapic fair is to take place on November 16th–18th, 2016.