Retail parks continue to perform

Redevco bixx april 2019

There was no let up for Redevco’s Belgian team over the summer: they were busier than ever, welcoming five new tenants to our Espace Shopping Hydrion retail park in Aarlen including Biocap, Pâtisserie Reizer, Extra, 4Murs and Qualias who all opened during the holiday period.

Our new retail tenants have added an attractive mix respectively of organic food, F&B, household goods, home decoration and healthcare store. Local shoppers in and around Aarlen now have a menu of 42 stores to choose from at the park, spread over an area of more than 33,000 m2. We also recently added a new tenant to The Leaf retail park in Ternat: JYSK, the interior design store from Denmark.

All of this is good news for Redevco: thanks to these latest transactions we have virtually no vacancy left across our retail park portfolio in Belgium. At present, occupancy nationwide is almost 99%. This is a figure that we’re extremely proud of!  

Ecommerce is an unstoppable trend, but this extremely low vacancy level confidently shows that consumers still want to get out of their house and away from their computers, to pay a visit to a brick-and-mortar store where they can touch and feel products and interact with real people. In fact, retail parks are proving to be more popular than ever now that we’re emerging from this difficult period of Covid-19 lockdowns and the unfortunate collapse of several retail brands.

We’re also getting positive signals from the market and our tenants. Just a couple of weeks ago I crossed the Belgian-Dutch border to visit the town of Maastricht and was happy to see so many people walking down the main shopping streets. The retailers I spoke to at stores like MediaMarkt and Torfs also told me that they were seeing a lot more people out and about.

The good vibes I’m getting are also backed by data: the Belgian property publication Expertise recently reported that retail leasing transactions in Belgium in the six weeks to end-July were up to three times higher than the same time a year earlier as well as the two preceding years.

We’re not out of the woods yet, but we’re seeing more and more data that point towards a post-pandemic recovery. Consumer confidence is up, retail take-up is hitting new records, employing is rising and F&B retailers are booking strong growth. We’re also seeing the emergence of new retail formats which illustrate yet again how dynamic the retail real estate sector is. History has taught us that change always brings new opportunities and I think we are going to see some very exciting ones in the period ahead.

A blogpost by Filip de Bois, Portfolio Director Redevco Belgium