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Allan Saunderson is managing editor of Property Finance Europe and a contributor to GlobeSt.com.

CANNES, FRANCE-New and rapidly developing retail property markets plus the growing influence of environmentally-sustainable building are two trends highlighted at the MAPIC trade fair this year, and likely to mark its development in the future, says fair director Nathalie Depetro.

The fair, held for the 15th year in the French Riviera resort of Cannes, has over 1,200 retailers already registered. New exhibitors include Chronostock, the French ‘temporary’ store retailer that organizes sales of branded items at bargain prices, and the US-based KidZania which develops theme parks that enable children to explore future jobs. New developer-exhibitors include Egypt’s Palm Hills, Libya’s Libyamall and Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Triland. “I think these markets, among others, will be growth drivers for years to come, and they are playing an increasingly important role at MAPIC,” Depetro said.

But the environmental crisis is adding a new dimension to the economic sphere and this is reflected in retailing. “The real estate sector will have to factor this in to its overall strategy; the increasing importance of environmental criteria will affect the entire industry,” Depetro said. “Both developers and retailers will be increasingly focused on sustainable buildings, as shown by the many projects for renovating existing shopping malls and new projects to be showcased at MAPIC this year. Cities will no longer give approval to projects that are not sustainability-driven.”

Next year, MAPIC is planning to launch a ‘City Summit’ to explore sustainable urban development in retail real estate. Another key development is the growth of on-line retailing, so future MAPIC editions will also pay more attention to this alternative method of consumption.

MAPIC is gradually becoming more international, she added. Starting with delegates from northern Europe, Spain and Italy, it has attracted some from Russia and central Europe and now also from China, Korea, Qatar, UAE, Brazil, and India. Depetro expects around 7,500 attendees from 60 countries, with numbers inevitably reflecting the crisis.

“Some companies will come to Cannes with smaller delegations but will be still be represented by their top executives and key industry players… In terms of geographical spread, the crisis is having a different impact in different countries. Although the Russian Federation and Ukraine are virtually absent this year, Europe is still in a robust position. And future growth markets such as Africa and South America are making a strong showing.”

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