7 years to rebalance physical and online retail, warns Colliers

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It will take seven years to rebalance the physical and online retailing sectors across Europe, according to a study by property specialists Colliers.

“We are seeing a significant slow-down in e-commerce growth and we believe that the market-share achieved by online retailing in the UK – which is about 27 per cent – is not going to be repeated elsewhere in Europe, said Etienne van Unen, co-head of EMEA retail at Colliers.

“For all European sub-regions, we expect 2025 to be a watershed year as e-commerce spending reaches a point of maturity across these territories.”

The report predicts that future demand for retail space will either come from new retailers or the online giants – neither of which have the 20th-century ‘legacy’ problems of huge store networks and the crippling costs that these can entail.

E-commerce will also evolve in the coming years and have a closer relationship with ‘in real life’ shopping.

Colliers Co-Head of EMEA Retail, Paul Souber, said: “The retail property sector cannot sit around and simply wait for online growth to diminish and for the big internet brands to start opening more stores. Drastic action is needed. Redundant retail space must be eradicated through demolition or being repurposed into residential and other alternative uses.

“However, by the time Amazon celebrates its 30th birthday in 2024, we believe we will be seeing a new retailing environment which has shaken off the legacy of the 20th century and is balancing the convenience of e-commerce with the experiential depth of ‘in real life’ shopping.”

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