To an increasing degree Napoleon Bonaparte is being proved largely correct in his disparaging remark that ‘England is a nation of shop keepers’. The UK’s retailers are certainly growing in international importance as manufacturing wanes, but interestingly enough, Continental Europe too is following suit.
Manufacturing industry is steadily moving production to lower labour cost regions, such as central/eastern Europe and the Far East, whilst retailing is undergoing a metamorphosis, moving from a primarily national focus to having international or even global interests. So, what does this mean in terms of strategic requirements for distribution hubs?
The enlargement of the EU to 25 member countries this May adds impetus to our special analysis of the European logistics property sector, which attempts to shed light on the changing needs for warehousing and distribution centres in Europe. Not only is there a reported shift in demand, from warehouse space required for ‘goods for manufacture’ to space for a growing flow of imported products, but the enlargement of the EU is expected to move the goal posts further east for locating DCs serving Europe’s expanding affluent markets.
The lead article by Simon Lloyd of DTZ Research indicates the hot spots, or ten most popular locations, for distribution and logistics sites in Europe. The findings of DTZ’s report on the subject clearly identifies Warsaw and Budapest as two highly sought after areas for distribution facilities. However, although EU enlargement will no doubt have an effect on logistics requirements, key locations in the existing EU-15 are not expected to suffer by the eastward expansion in the short term. But what of the longer term?
Eastern Europe holds a great appeal, but then Napoleon thought so too.
Nick Allen, Editor