Milligan Chairman, Rupert Clarke spoke on the panel discussion at the RICS Q3 UK Commercial Property Market launch recently. Unsurprisingly, the conversation turned to the state of retail, where Rupert shared the following insights and viewpoints:
“There is no question that the historic retail real estate business model needs to change dramatically at every level. Historic retail real estate business practices are not fit for purpose in the fast evolving retail and town centre environment. The mass market approach to developing, leasing, managing, operating and owning retail assets needs fundamental change. Additionally the professional skills and expertise to achieve this need to be reorientated around the customer and the customer experience.
“One of the best examples of sustainable retail development, leasing, managing, operating and owning retail assets is in the Outlet Centre sector which has substantially outperformed the rest of the retail market and where the relationship between owner and occupier is highly incentivised to be collaborative, generating and maintaining an exciting and fresh customer experience.
“Apart from a desperate need for a complete reinvention of the owner, occupier, operator and consumer focus, if towns and cities are not to have their economic prospects and future dragged down by deserted retail ghettos, there also needs to be a far more realistic approach taken to underwriting sustainable retail real estate values so that regeneration becomes viable, preferably sooner rather than later. At current values many town centres will not attract much needed new reinvestment capital until the situation on the ground has deteriorated even further.”
Rupert has been Chairman at Milligan since 2012. He holds a number of Exec and Non-Exec roles and is the ex-CEO of JLL Corporate Finance and Hermes. He brings with him over thirty years of real estate experience.