Sweden greets the ICSC European ConferenceDigital Manager
Last week we attended the ICSC European conference in Stockholm – the first time it has visited Sweden! It was the gathering point for key decision makers from the whole of the industry – the event offered a great opportunity to network and exchange ideas. From back in London, we don’t think people realise how senior the attendance is – am sure they’ll wake up soon!
Several interesting panel discussions and seminars were held on highly relevant topics impacting on our sector such as e and m-commerce, international retail expansion, interesting markets and of course the current economic situation. There was also a great ICSC Next Generation series of meetings and site tours – Innesco MD Dan Innes stepped in to provide a tour of MOOD Stockholm, which was well received!
The highlight of Wednesday was Innesco’s client Westfield winning the Extra Large Shopping Centre Category Award for Westfield Stratford City, as well as a special commendation for Regeneration. Pictured above is Innesco MD Dan Innes together with Development Director John Burton OBE (middle), and Chief Executive of London Borough of Newham Kim Bromley-Derry (left).
From our perspective, having worked in Sweden for nearly three years, we found it interesting to hear more about how the international community views Scandinavia – a market that has been highly regarded and respected among investors during the recession due to its strong economic performance. Despite many investors’ praise for the region, many outsiders are seemingly reluctant to enter the market due to the lack of scale it offers, not fully understanding the market. We think the ICSC European conference really managed to highlight that Scandinavia has critical mass – 25 million consumers with strong purchasing power and the confidence to spend. Stockholm is the 11th most affluent region in Europe and its population is growing at a faster rate then London.
Other markets discussed included South America. Columbia was portrayed as a promising market with its current stable leadership encouraging both growth and investment. In terms of Africa, one of the challenges is that there is strong growth in some countries but not enough development to meet demand. We expect to see more from Africa very soon.
When entering a new market – whether emerging or established – we learnt that B-locations can be more attractive for many retailers as it provides a chance to test the market at a lower cost. This has to be a good thing to encourage retailers to enter the European market. But as e-commerce is rapidly expanding, more retailers are testing their offer online before taking their first real step into the market.
Overall the ICSC European conference offered many interesting meetings, great discussions, networking, and new insights, and we are looking forward to the next Conference in Istanbul!
Sara Henriksson, Account Manager