2021 was certainly starting to look a little more optimistic for the retail sector than it was in 2020. The roll out of the various vaccines and reducing numbers meant that things were slowly getting back to some level of normality, particularly over the summer months. Then came the Autumn and onset of winter, which was unfortunately accompanied but a new variant and a sharp spread of cases in many countries in CEE and across the globe.
Clearly the retail industry and consumers have struggled, have made changes and continue to adapt. One part of that is clearly the way consumers shop for both the essential items they need, but also for the other less essential, but perhaps more enjoyable things they buy. The already heavily disrupted retail sector, and certainly some parts of it to a greater extent, has continued to fight to survive amid significant restrictions. This is in addition to other factors such as manufacturing and issues in supply chains, for a wide variety of products, the adoption and adaptation of
e-commerce or omni-channel operations, the lack of availability of labour and rising costs across the board, to name just a few. Although times continue to be very testing, we are regularly astounded by the resilience, the fight and innovation that has materialised from many of the players in the industry, new and old, retailers, developers, asset managers and investors alike.
In this latest edition of our ExCEEding Borders series of reports, we take a look at the retail real estate market and sector across the region. Looking at all retail formats, but more specifically on retail parks and discount retail chains that have not escaped disruption but, have perhaps recorded some positivity out of all this mess. Therefore, we take a closer look at a few of the trends impacting consumers and the retail sector overall, both economically and physically and hope to demonstrate that the retail sector is still Alive and Kicking!