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Retail Parks Investment: A Good Idea?

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Tomas Szlilagyi, Senior Associate CEE Capital Markets team at Colliers answers questions regarding investment in retail parks during the Covid epidemic tackling possible risks and opportunities. Read the full version of the interview for Eurobuild.

Is it a good time to buy retail park assets now?

In short – yes.  If you are an investor interested in retail, retail parks seem to be the safest bet at the moment. That being said, I believe it is the right time to invest in almost any real estate segment. 

 

How did retail parks cope with the Covid 19 trading restrictions compared to other asset classes?

Retail parks have been the best performing part of the entire retail market (not counting e-commerce, of course). They proved to be one of the most resilient retail asset classes throughout the pandemic.  One of the key factors in comparative success is a sense of safety  - the ability to park close to desired stores, easier social distancing and open-air aspect. All these elements combined make people feel safer and more comfortable in comparison to other shopping options, which helped retail parks cope with the pandemic better than any other retail class.

 

How badly has the retail park business been affected by the lockdowns?

Retail is one of themost impacted sectors by Covid-19. Not only was it affected by government restrictions which led to recession, but thepandemic also accelerated the ongoing shift towards e-commerce. Obviously, retail parks did not stay unaffected. Restrictions and shutdowns made their mark and repercussions will be felt in the aftermath for some time. On the other hand, as I mentioned earlier, in terms of sectors, the retail parks seem to bea winner. 

 

Is new retail park development still worthwhile?

The Czech Republic is already at the peak of the CEE countries based on the density of retail areas. Nevertheless, we see new and successful parks being developed and transacted every year. The investors’ appetite remains strong and if main development principles, such as preparation phase, research and focus on location, are followed, I still see great potential for newly developed parks. 

 

Will the crisis have any lasting effect on the way retail parks operate?

The retail sector has seen big challenges in recent years and last year has simply brought them fully to the surface. The pandemic is partly to blame, but this has far more to do with the ongoing changes in consumers’ desires. It is very likely that, even after the restrictions are lifted, many new shopping habits, prompted by the pandemic, will become a trend and remain with us for quite some time.  Yet, regardless of these trends,  brick and mortar stores are far from obsolete, and as the pandemic confirmed,retail parks could lead the way as one of the most stable and secure retail asset classes.


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Tomas Szilagyi

Associate Director | Investment Services

Prague

Tomas started his real estate career after graduating from VSE Prague. He joined IMPACT-CORTI as a property acquisition manager focusing on business development. His main role was to seek out new business opportunities, underwrite potential real estate deals and support the whole acquisition process up to successful closing.

Later, as a member of the CBRE Sales & Acquisition team, Tomas further expanded his real estate knowledge and experience. Building on his previous work experience his focus then shifted from buy side to vendor sale mandates. Tomas was therefore responsible for the transaction management of sale deals including the underwriting, market analysis, marketing, contract negotiations and due diligence coordination.

Tomas decided to further broaden his professional experience and joined Colliers International in September 2016.

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