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by Property Forum | Report

Most retailers want to attract customers in-store through omnichannel, while e-commerce is not meeting the expectations of food retailers, concluded speakers in the rediscovering retail panel of CEE Property Forum 2023, held in Vienna last month.

Tomas Cifra, Partner & Managing Director Central & Eastern Europe, Mitiska REIM, who chaired the panel mentioned BREEAM certifications, smart meters, and PV panels as some of the investments done by all retailers. “We are investing in convenience retail. We have invested over €400 million in equity, and we have a portfolio valued at around €1 billion,” said Cifra.

The high inflation puts pressure on innovation in the retail industry as well as on operational costs, explained Angelus Bernreuther, Head of Investor Relationship Management, Kaufland. Speaking about digitalization, Bernreuther said that Kaufland is not neglecting this component. However, he explained: “E-commerce for food retailers will not be a successful business.” He added that Kaufland has to offer its customers an omnichannel experience.

For financial institutions, ESG is unavoidable when looking at real estate funding projects, including retail ones, said Josef Malíř, Executive Director, Star Capital Finance. “I would definitely invest in any country in CEE. Poland is the biggest market, but I would be interested in Romania and Hungary. I would definitely buy in the Czech Republic and Slovakia,” said Malíř.

In retail, most of the projects are using a lot of land and this is not very sustainable, stated Adrian Pop, General Manager, ADP green building. Pop explained that BREEAM is just an assessment, and you always have to look at the rating you get - then you can speak about energy performance.

“Brick and mortar is here to stay,” said Carmen Ravon, Head of Retail Occupiers CEE, CBRE. She added that most retailers want to attract customers in-store through omnichannel. Furthermore, given the tight labour market, retailers will try to integrate self-check-out more than before.