The landscape of the global economy has shifted dramatically since the onset of the “Great Recession.” As the mature economies of Western Europe and North America try to find a new formula for long term growth where unemployment and the specter of near and long-term austerity measures is dampening the strength of the global economic recovery, emerging markets in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe are in expansion mode, serving as the world’s growth engine and giving rise to new levels of wealth, development and influence on the global economic stage. This bifurcated landscape between mature and emerging markets is nowhere more evident than in the retail real estate sector. The performance of shopping centers and their demand drivers across the globe have divergent stories: in North America an anemic and choppy recovery has resulted in the growing divide between prime and second-tier retail properties; in Europe, the effects of the sovereign debt crisis have gripped the region and led to another slowdown, resulting in only tempered improvement in prime, top-tier shopping centers. Conversely, in Asia and Latin America the economic resurgence has fueled an upturn in retail activity over the past two years, resulting in blossoming retail markets that are rooted in a thriving consumer base and an emerging middle class, while new economic policies and the continued inflow of international brands are revolutionizing and strengthening the retail sector in these regions. These contrasting performances are manifest in the rental rate spreads and growth in prime/class A shopping centers among these regions. In North America and Europe, average rents have seen only moderate improvement with stable demand, whereas growth in Asia and Latin America has been considerably stronger and rents levels reflect the high demand for a limited amount of prime retail opportunities.
Source : Cushman & Wakefield