Over 8,000 retail industry players journeyed to Cannes, France last week for the 2016 MAPIC conference.
France, Italy and the UK made up the top three national delegations of the 78 countries represented.
Participation from Asia and the Middle East both grew, and following last year’s USA Country of Honour programme, the US pavilion added 16 new exhibitors.
On the retail front, MAPIC 2016 welcomed 2,100 retailer delegates. An eclectic mix of retailers and brands included John Lewis, Mars, Yo! Sushi, Tesco, Subway, Ikea, Primark and McDonald’s.
One of Britain’s most prominent retail gurus, Mary Portas (known as the Queen of the Shops), made her first appearance at MAPIC to moderate a lively discussion on the outlook for UK retail as part of the “United Kingdom – Good Morning Retail” panel.
Portas noted, “By 2020, the shopping experience will overtake product and price, both in the UK and globally. The social aspect of ‘doing’ is more important than ever, and brands need to work creatively and competitively to connect with consumers at that level.”
Over 1,000 delegates from 350 investment companies and financial institutions were in Cannes to enlarge their portfolios with new assets.
Among the major financiers attending were GIC Real Estate, Ivanhoé Cambridge and Unibail-Rodamco.
Commenting on the investment outlook for retail real estate in one MAPIC conference session, Roland Mangelmans, Senior Portfolio Manager of APG Asset Management said, “A strong portfolio is based on supply and demand, as well as microtrends that will support a future investment. Therefore, it is important to focus on the individual opportunity, whether high street or outlet, and first or third tier cities.”
Commenting on the investment outlook for the US retail real estate market, Christopher Conlon, COO from Acadia Realty Trust, said “High Streets provide a gateway opportunity for foreign retailers who come to the US. We want to understand their business and strategy and match them to our assets around the country.”
France’s Secretary of State for Trade, Handicrafts, Consumption and Social and Solidarity Economy Martine Pinville, chaired a roundtable discussion on retail desertification in certain French cities.
The Secretary of State recently received a report covering the need to revitalise center-city shopping, particularly in cities with populations ranging from 10,000 to 100,000 where retail store vacancy rates rose from 6.1 to 10.4 percent between 2001 and 2015.
Pinville explained that “the commercial vitality of our city centres is not only the problem of shopkeepers, it is also intimately linked to housing, leisure and transport. The recommendations addressed in the IGF-CGEDD report to counter commercial vacancy must be collective, beyond political divisions and on different scales, with private and public actors, local elected representatives and commercial real estate professionals working together. This is the message I wanted to convey today at MAPIC by bringing together around the same table the different stakeholders of this enterprise.”
As O20 or ‘clicks to bricks’ was the central theme of MAPIC 2016, innovation abounded in Cannes, including a host of new exhibitors, pitching formats and conferences, plus a spotlight on how international retailers and developers can respond to today’s connected consumers.
“Using data intelligently to understand and connect with the consumer is key,” said François Loviton, Director of Retail for Google France. “Data itself isn’t smart. It needs creative people and platforms to manage it and use it for growth.”
Over 130 companies packed the Trends Hub exhibition zone as MAPIC brought together leaders in retailtainment, pop-up stores, e-innovators and startups.
Among the companies showcasing their expertise were Google and Salesforce, retailtainment specialists iP2 Entertainment, Topgolf, Vortex and KCC.
iP2Entertainment announced a partnership with Mattel Inc., to roll out Mattel Play BIG! global experiential centres featuring brands including Barbie and Hot Wheels that will feature hands-on entertainment to offer visitors of large retail and shopping developments a larger-than-life play experience.