Despite a very troubling economic environment around Europe and throughout the world, MAPIC managed to host a very successful event this year, with over 8,200 unique participants (up 6,2% over 2011), and 2,430 retailers, of which 400 were NEW brands. Among participants, there were 850 investors and 730 exhibiting companies.
Particularly surprising this year was the diverse international presence among exhibitors and visitors. Not only did Russia make headlines as country of honour, other emerging countries such as Brazil and Turkey were also present, working hard to represent their healthy retail economies amid an otherwise struggling Europe. Another surprise this year was an impressive increase in American retailers.
Keynote speaker and head of retail services at Cushman & Wakefield, Maxim Karbasnikoff, said that MAPIC is all about new retailers. He added, “It’s not about selling Russia, it’s about doing deals.” On what MAPIC brought to Russia this year, Maxim said, “more optimism and the desire to be more professional.” To respond to the reoccuring digital theme throughout the 3 day show, he noted “The shopping centre is the place to meet and be entertained; not only to attract new customers, but to create a dialogue through new technologies.”
Ali Aliev, Head of Business Development for WHSmith, echoed the sentiment of Karbaskinoff in saying, “Growth is clearly in emerging territores. Russia is absolutely the region to be looking at.” On MAPIC 2012, Aliev was excited to see more regional developers present and believed there is “more focus on travel retailers and landlords.”
From the investors pool was Tonny Nielsen, CEO and Head IM of Aberdeen AM Denmark, Copenhagen. Nielsen also looked to Easter Europe as a leading growth player in the coming years. He stressed the fact that investors are still not willing to take any risks: “Risk is not the right word for investors at the moment.” His message wasn’t rosy however. He made it clear that “consumer spending is lacking and the market is relatively flat.” That being said, he feels that there is still good reason to be positive for the future. “Quality is better now than a few years ago and in this respect, we can remain opimistic.”
Image: Images & Co. / S. D’Halloy