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Paris, 25 November 2009 – International retailers polled before and during MAPIC 2009, report that they believe the market has bottomed out and that 2010 will see a significant recovery in certain retail sectors and territories.

According to independent research carried out prior to MAPIC by CBRE and presented to MAPIC delegates by Chris Igwe, Head of Retail, Senior Director European Retail Leasing, EMEA, CBRE, Central Europe, Germany and France head the list of target markets for 200 international retailers. The CBRE research noted that retailers who have weathered the economic storm the best are in the fast-food, men’s apparel and mid-price restaurant sectors. Growth sectors included baby and children’s concepts, aspirational and international brands.

Discussing the state of the retail business during his MAPIC 2009 Closing Address, Chris Igwe noted, “there is a future. There is hope. What’s been interesting here in Cannes is the mood, which is clearly positive.” He advised developers that understanding retailers’ needs is increasingly important. “In our industry, a lot has been said about ‘build it and they will come.’ You can’t just build anything today, because nobody will necessarily buy it up. We need to dialogue more to understand what has worked and what hasn’t.”

Delegate feedback gathered during MAPIC by researchers from Wisconsin School of Business and France’s HEC Business School, confirmed a renewed sense of optimism. Joe Walsh, Senior Lecturer at Wisconsin School of Business, presented the findings which showed 53% of those polled felt more optimistic at the end of MAPIC than they did at the start. Asked how they felt the market perspectives had changed over the past 12 months, over 65% of retailers expressed optimism, while 35% of developers said they felt an improvement in the retail real estate sector.

Commenting on the 15th edition of the event, which welcomed over 6,700 delegates from 66 countries, including 1,500 retailers, MAPIC Director Nathalie Depetro said, “in the current crisis context, the professionals of the industry are very focused on deal-making and sharing a sense of a new era starting for retail real estate. Even in these challenging times, it was interesting to see new countries attending such as Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Malta and Qatar.”

One of the driving forces of change within the retail real estate industry, that was discussed at MAPIC, is the shift in consumer behaviour.

“Shoppers are in a different state of mind today,” explained Dan Stanek, Executive Vice President of Retail Forward Inc (USA) during his keynote address. “They are looking for value and return on involvement, as they are evolving in a society where credit is tighter but spending remains crucial.”  Discussing retail renewal, Dan Stanek examined the current trends in consumer spending patterns that retail real estate professionals should be aware of in order to make their retail developments successful: who are the main spenders today? What are the kinds of spending that are drivers for growth? What are the shopping places that can guarantee sustained consumption? What is the growth of wholesale merchandise suppliers to sustain the retailing industry’s changing needs?

One example of a retailer illustrating the new positioning that comes out of these trends is Rituals Cosmetics, from the Netherlands, which defines itself as a brand offering the quality of Chanel at Body Shop prices. In a MAPIC “speed matching” session dedicated to retail concepts, Arjen Schouten, Director New Business & Partner, provided further insight into their development pattern, which relies on promotion through in-store experience rather than advertising. As he presented the global brand and specific sites (125 stores, 300 corners and 3 spas in 12 countries), he said his company is looking for premium locations in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

This article brought to you by the number one wholesale products magazine, Retailers Forum.