Italian retail is ‘still in growth mode’ – Mapic Italy

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Italy's retail real estate industry is still in growth mode, and will continue to attract ever more international attention, delegates have heard at Mapic Italy in Milan.


'Mapic Italy is only two years old but it is already becoming a fixture in the International real estate calendar,' said Massimo Moretti, president of CNCC Italy. 'Italy’s shopping centre sector is performing well and has extraordinary potential, so it’s only right that sector operators are talking about it on an international scale.'

Industry challenges include being ready for the next step, suggested Jose Maria Robles, general director, property management Italy, Sonae Sierra. 'I think that the important thing is to understand how to be ready for the future evolution of the sector,' Robles noted.

'Speed is a hug issue, both in understanding the formats of the future, and in responding to customer demand and desires.'

Another key factor, according to Lino Guatteo, managing director of Promocentro Italia, involves serving an increasingly demanding clientele. 'Customers these days study potential purchases much more acutely, they are focused on provenance, quality as well as price. Shopping centres need to take this into consideration going forward when they're selecting the brands and stores they plan to work with,' he said.

For Guatteo, the financial climate is also challenging. 'Italian developers have to recognise that Italian banks can’t be relied on to finance projects these days, we’re in a much more hostile financing environment,' he added.

Edoardo Favro, CEO Gallerie Commerciali Italia, was more upbeat. 'There's definitely a lot of work to be done, but the outlook is bright,' he said. 'Increasing the size of centres always pays off. Size matters, and scale makes economic sense. Of course, you have to be capable to use that space well but there is definitely room for growth,' he concluded.