“Trust will be an important factor and I think those that get the right mix between in-store online and omnichannel will be the survivors,” Andrew Vaughan, CEO Redevco says in a interview with Living Retail, a publication of Real Asset Media. The article follows a recently published video interview about how Redevco’s been responding to the COVID-19 crisis, and, longer term, how it’s been streamlining its portfolio to prosper in today’s rapidly changing market.
For retail markets, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated many existing trends, but Redevco remains optimistic. In the video interview Andrew says: “A couple of months ago it really felt that we were in the eye of the storm, and at the beginning of lockdown, like many people, we were extremely pessimistic about how our business looked and how this year looked. But looking at where we are today, we’re definitely more optimistic. The vast majority of our shops are open again, trade is picking up and there are some positive signs from footfall and from turnover. It’s not the lost year we thought it might be.”
On helping tenants cope during the pandemic, Andrew says it’s important to realise that COVID-19 is a global problem and that the pain has to be shared.
In terms of ongoing strategy, Redevco remains cautiously upbeat about retail. Andrew: “Physical retail is still worth investing in, provided three conditions are met. Good quality buildings, in the right locations, and flexibility. We fundamentally still believe in retail and with those three ingredients you are going to be okay.” But it’s the strong brands that are most likely to survive. Trust and ethics will become more important. Innovation, and getting the right mix between retail, online and omnichannel will also be key. Basically, it’ll be only the fittest that survive, he believes.
Redevco’s strategy remains the same, but the current crisis means it will probably be accelerated: “We’re heading in the same direction as before, we’re looking much more at mixed-use, we’re into residential, we’re starting to look at some other sectors as well.” While mixed-use is a growing focus for Redevco, Andrew points out that cities have always had different uses: “A lot of our buildings are already mixed-use and always have been – shops with residential or offices above. We’ve always been extremely comfortable with this.”
One of the few winners of the current crisis has been the planet, Andrew notes, with carbon emissions down significantly. But as we push to reopen our economies, the challenge now is to find the right balance, he says.