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Report of Executive Board of Directors

Market opportunities and threats

As online shopping will continue to grow, the physical retail market will have to shift towards a new balance in which fewer stores are needed. As a result of urbanisation, ageing and polarisation, this process will have a greater impact on some cities and some shopping areas than others.

Bouwinvest expects prime (A1) retail locations in the city centres of the top 15 cities and neighbourhood shopping centres with a focus on daily purchases to be most resilient. These retail destinations are best equipped to navigate the upcoming period, which is likely to involve a great deal of uncertainty for both retailers and investors.

Prime locations will perform well as they have the largest and most diverse retail stock. On top of this, the hospitality sector creates an inviting climate and these cities tend to have younger populations. The district or neighbourhood centres focused on daily shopping will remain important due to their close vicinity to customers, the convenience they offer and the fact that they also cater to the ageing population.

The battle for customers has heated up in each and every retail destination. The same goes for retailers. They need to offer a clear added value to customers, or they will simply go out of business. This will result in a future retail environment in which the overall quality of retail will be substantially higher than in the past. The threat of the zoning plans losing their important role in the Dutch retail landscape seems to have been averted. As a result, municipalities are still able to prevent regular retailers from operating in cheaper retail warehouse locations, and protect the attractiveness of city centres and neighbourhood shopping centres.

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