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Collin BoelhouwerDirector Dutch Retail Investments
The Bouwinvest Retail Fund is in an excellent position to realise stable returns in the years ahead thanks to its strong focus on the ‘experience’ of primary retail locations and the ‘convenience’ of daily shopping. Because we believe that convenience and experience are the key trends that will determine the future of retail real estate. The larger stores now favoured by major retail brands in the country’s main shopping cities will provide customers with the experience they want. At the same time, we all like the convenience of easily accessible local shopping centres for our daily shopping.
We firmly believe that shopping locations that focus on this experience or convenience are and will continue to be the most future-proof and the most resilient in the face of the growing trend towards online shopping. This is why we focus on the main shopping streets in major shopping cities and shopping centres in smaller towns and cities that focus on convenience shopping. One offers consumers the experience of shopping in often historical city centres with a wide range of cultural and leisure activities. The best convenience centres are accessible, provide sufficient parking space and offer a good retail mix for daily essentials.
We work closely with our tenants, local authorities and other stakeholders to develop attractive shopping areas. And as part of this strategy, we are increasingly focusing on the redevelopment of existing shopping centres. This is how we are helping to address the current oversupply on the retail market, by adapting, converting and updating shopping centres that will continue to meet daily shopping needs long into the future.
Of course, all our redevelopment efforts aim to increase the sustainability of our high street assets and shopping centres. And we work with local authorities and retailers to inject life into areas and create places people want to shop, work and meet.
Additionally, in 2014 the Retail Fund was awarded GRESB Green Star status, the highest designation in the GRESB investment universe. Based on the GRESB score, fund managers can screen their sustainability policy and roll out improvements.