Cambridge University Address – talking Retail Real Estate

In December 2020 Portus Retail founder, Peter Todd, addressed Cambridge University MST Real Estate students to share some expert knowledge on the industry.

Here are some of the predictions for 2021 Retail Real Estate that Peter shared:


Trading through a global pandemic

  • Managing expectations throughout a global pandemic is key alongside this, being proactive, communicating clearly and making decisions early will allow for successful trading structure.
  • Working with tenants on trading hours, strategy, flexible rental terms and leasing to retain the highest possible level of occupancy.
  • Have a clear operating strategy and marketing plan which includes opening times, health and safety measures and social distancing guidelines. Continual communication and matching customer experience of environment and safety to message need to be part of this strategy.


2021 retail trends

  • In the short-term there will be a reduced dwell time as shopping will become less of a social activity.
  • Customers will have an increased awareness of the physical shopping environment and are seeking space, natural light and ventilation and a sense of a safe environment.
  • Retail centres and stores must offer both destination options and convenience options to meet consumer demands.
  • Click & Collect will become more prominent.
  • The pandemic will accelerate change in the retail landscape as consumers have become used to a new shopping experience some established brands fail and new ones emerge.


Implications for retail real estate:

  • The pace of change will accelerate, retail landlords will need to be creative and find alternative uses (leisure, offices, community use, residential, last mile logistics, etc.) for surplus floor space.
  • Whilst the specific and relative situation in retail has evolved, the fundamental principles of positioning each centre relative to the local market demand and retail hierarchy remains the paramount success factor.
  • Shop formats are evolving to accommodate new customer demands and the new retail landscape.
  • Rental and capital values are under pressure and will remain so for some time.
  • Many retail centres will fail if their owners cannot or do not reinvent them based on these accelerated changes


For further information please contact the PR team: | +44 7970 242 134

Property Management feature: Innovative examples of how companies are making buildings as safe as possible during the pandemic.

Despite Covid providing shopping centres with challenges, leisure and retail centres remain the heart and soul of the community. The moment a retail reopening date was confirmed, Portus Retails’ focus was on our property management elements and running successful centres post lockdown.  We immediately turned our attention to social media and digital marketing for one of our shopping centres, Docks Bruxsel, to publicise our strict health & safety guidelines.

Customers and tenants alike were eager to hear how the shopping centre was as safe as possible. We introduced hand sanitisation stations, opened doors and the roof to allow better air circulation and aircon switched off, security teams checking use of face masks and size of groups entering while complying with regulations, social distancing markers and queuing systems, clear signage on number of permitted customers per store to obey with regulations and social distancing. All of this combined with clear and concise messaging (including POS) regarding the importance of health and wellbeing of customers and staff, we believe aided us in getting our customers and staff back swiftly. 

Meticulous enforcing and policing of the regulations outlined in our communication were implemented including, but not limited to: split staggering teams to ensure Covid isolation bubbles, deep cleaning of any store with temporary closure if any staff developed symptoms, pedestrian flow counts and hot spots using security teams to review footfall counter and live feedback from WiFi beacons to actively manage overcrowding situations and avoid breaking social distancing guidelines. 

Overall, with careful precision, providing customers with a delicate balance of reopening excitement and education on safety, Docks Bruxsel has been very successful, achieving 99% of the footfall compared to the same period in 2019, highlighting the safe and precautionary measures put in place for Covid, customer experience has not been affected. 

For further information please contact the PR team: | +44 7970 242 134