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Report of Executive Board of Directors

Technology and innovation

Corporates are testing emerging technologies, such as drones, artificial intelligence, blockchain and the Internet of Things, to directly connect behaviour to technology. With customers increasingly shopping online, we see a rising demand for technology-enabled stores to adapt to the needs of customers. Examples include retail companies such as Amazon and Nike.

Online shopping will continue to grow in the coming years. First of all, because the share of consumers growing up with online shopping will only increase. In addition, this market segment will continue to professionalise and tap into new revenue models. This will of course have an impact on the required future size of overall retail stock (both nationally and locally), but will also affect the function and lay-out of stores and shopping areas. By responding smartly to this development, retailers and shopping areas may be able to use this to their advantage. The role of a neighbourhood shopping centre as a pick-up point or return centre must be taken into consideration.

Retail investors will have to integrate more technology in their buildings and services. For example to generate real-time asset performance data and create so called digital twins of the assets to manage assets more effectively and provide tenants with a smooth customer journey. Not only during onboarding, also to retain tenants. This will aimed at improving indoor quality and comfort and at boosting interaction with customers, enhancing customer experience, while reducing energy and property management costs. On the other hand, the asset and tenant-related data generated will be essential to make buildings and business processes autonomous in the future.

There are numerous other trends that could affect the retail market to a greater or lesser extent. At the same time, some could have a greater impact in the future than we now think. For the retail sector, it is especially important to monitor the development of 3D printing and virtual/augmented reality. The first could make part of the store function completely superfluous, while the second could offer a shopping atmosphere at home that cannot be generated using flat screens in stores.

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