ICSC is gearing up for one of its highest-profile conferences to date: the Retail Real Estate World Summit, this year titled “The Globalization of Retail.” The meeting is scheduled for September 12–14 at China’s Shanghai International Convention Center. “This event for our industry is like the World Cup or the Olympics,” said Michael P. Kercheval, president and CEO of ICSC. “It only happens once every few years, and it is meant to be a spotlight on our worldwide retail real estate industry.”
This year’s summit will build on the globalization theme introduced at previous summits — in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2005, and Cape Town, South Africa, in 2007. The speakers and panelists include business, political and humanitarian leaders. “It is a much more global business today,” said Sandeep L. Mathrani, co-chairman of the summit, and CEO of General Growth Properties. “All of us can learn from each other as it relates to methods of doing business, capital markets, retailers, design and development.”
The conference is expected to draw about 1,000 attendees, including a large representation of executives from major companies around the world. ICSC has several goals for the summit. One is to examine the impact that the shopping center industry has had on the global economy. Another is to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and knowledge about the investment shifts between developed and emerging markets, and a third is to enable networking among real estate investors, shopping center developers and expansion-minded retailers. “The globalization of retail is a topic vital to all industry players seeking to grow in a turbulent global economy, with emerging markets rapidly challenging established, developed markets in respect of both the extent of growth and the scale of the economies,” said Michael Rodel, co-chairman of the summit, and COO of the Rebosis Property Fund, Johannesburg, South Africa.
The topics are four: the macroeconomic and political conditions affecting the industry globally; retail development trends; investment trends around the world; and retail real estate industry best practices. The event incorporates a variety of viewpoints and subjects, from the newest retail concepts to the future of shopping center development in such places as China, Brazil and the United Arab Emirates. “It is very healthy to get people from around the world to present, so we can understand from their perspective how they see the world,” said Mathrani. “We want to be able to learn from each other — versus teach and say: ‘This is the right way.’ ”
The keynote speakers include Brian Mulroney, former prime minister of Canada; Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer; and Jon Wright, head of global retail research at Euromonitor International. Some of the discussions will focus on the shopping centers of tomorrow, with emphasis on transit-oriented development, sustainability, community-building, incorporation of public space as shopping center anchor, and social responsibility. Attendees will get to see and experience Shanghai’s rapidly growing retail market and to tour notable retail projects and sites — such as Nanjing Road, Plaza 66, Raffles City Shanghai, Super Brand Mall and Xintiandi. Said Mathrani: “It is imperative to see the innovation across the world.”