Europe retail investment rises fast, echoes changes in consumer behavior
Investment in European retail is rising fast, despite tough times for the sector in many countries, with investment in some surging ahead of the pack.
And it seems that the online revolution, which is having a major impact on the fashion sector, is driving investment in certain key markets. Meanwhile, the slower adoption of e-tail by some other countries means investment is still pouring into physical retail. That’s according to Savills’ latest Market in Minutes, European Retail Investment Report. The property specialist said overall investment in the European retail sector reached €21 billion up to the end of Q3, an 8% year-on-year rise. “Non-core” Belgium (+229%), Poland (+80%) and Italy (+52%) saw the greatest increase in retail property investment in the first nine months of 2018, while in the core markets, investment into France was up 23% and in Germany the figure stood at 15%. Germany saw the biggest investment in total, mainly in retail warehousing (as the need for property to support e-tail rose), and retail parks. Germany has been in first place for overall share of the investment market (24%) for some years, with the UK coming in second with 19% of market share. But the biggest investment category generally remained shopping centres and here, non-core countries also saw the biggest benefit. Italy (+158%/€1.2bn) and Poland (+82%/€2.1bn), enjoyed the highest increase out of an overall 11% rise in investment across the continent. When it comes to warehouses and retail parks, the UK and Germany were the big winners. They took gold and silver for turnover in Q1-Q3, with the UK accounting for 43% of the €2.5bn turnover figure and Germany capturing a third of the market (€1.9bn). Those figures underscore the changes that are happening in retail in those countries as both Britain and Germany see their fashion sectors migrating online and physical stores struggling. The investment levels in shopping centres and retail parks also echo the fact that it’s the larger ‘supermalls’ that are prospering and that fashion tenants are increasingly moving into retail parks, locations once limited to giant DIY stores and supermarkets. But, with the report saying that consumer confidence is back on the rise and private consumption is set to grow by 1.5% this year and 1.6% next year, this could boost prime high street assets in some countries. Here, investment has been particularly impressive in markets such as France (50% of the total), Spain and the Netherlands (30% of the total figure). Eri Mitsostergiou, European research analyst, said: “What has been really interesting is that, despite a move towards e-commerce in core markets such as the UK and Germany, there are still prime high street opportunities to be had in markets such as France and Spain where online retail has not yet taken off to the same extent. Overall, quality high street units in shopping streets with strong footfall and tourist numbers are highly sought after by investors and considered to be a defensive choice against online retail.”