Webinar: Repurposing shopping centres and department stores

The final webinar in the trilogy on repurposing different retail types looks at the challenges and opportunities faced in repurposing redundant shopping centres and department stores

We will also discuss specific investment strategies which a major institutional fund manager is adopting to repurpose these types of assets to other uses and how they are unlocking value to future-proof them into sustainable, mixed-use developments with resilient income for the post-pandemic age.

Shopping centres and department stores are currently facing their own unique challenges, with pandemic-induced lockdowns causing the closure of non-essential retail stores and consumers driven to shop online, accelerating the ongoing structural changes seen well before the pandemic. With online sales now accounting for 30% of total retail sales in the UK and department store and fashion-based retailers struggling and increasingly going into CVAs and administrations, vacancy rates continue to rise across high streets and shopping centres, leading to long-term structural decline.

Against this weakened economic backdrop, our expert speakers and panellists will discuss what type of retail and leisure experience consumers will want post-pandemic, what the key trends will be and what opportunities there are likely to be in repurposing redundant types of retail assets to other uses such as coworking, residential, alternatives and mixed-use community schemes to revitalise our high streets and city centres.  We will also hear from an architect with his views on what makes a successful redevelopment by putting the customer experience at the heart of the project.

This event will consist of short presentations by the speakers, followed by a panel session with Q&A.


Joanna Turner is Head of Property Research at Canada Life Asset Management and has been in her current role since 2015. She is responsible for managing research and strategy, which includes forecasts, thought leadership, house views, quarterly reporting and writing company blogs and research articles. She has a special interest in ESG investing in real estate and is on Canada Life Investments’ ESG Committee, which is responsible for its company-wide strategy.  Joanna has over twenty years’ experience in Property Research & Strategy at a global, European and UK-only level. Prior to Canada Life, she worked as an Associate Director in DTZ’s Global Forecasting & Research team, and has gained experience at major global property fund managers such as AXA Real Estate, LaSalle Investment Management and Invesco, as well as Cushman & Wakefield’s European Research team, where she was a European retail analyst.  Joanna holds an MSc in Real Estate Investment from Cass Business School, City University London and a BA (Hons) from Manchester University. She is a committee member of the Society of Property Researchers and also a member of the Investment Property Forum. She speaks Spanish, German and French, as well as her native English.


James Child
is Head of Retail & Industrial Research at EG with ten years’ experience in UK commercial property market analysis. Regular commentator for the BBC, ITV, Evening Standard, Guardian and The Times, and presenter or panellists at sector specific events such as MIPIM UK, RTPI, REVO and Completely Retail. James specialises in the analysis of occupier, planning, investment and development trends in the retail and industrial real estate sector, as well as producing wider detailed socio-economic national investigations, providing insights on successful urban renewal and regeneration. His work has been referenced by various local and national Government bodies, as well as independent reviews of future of the high street.

Tom Whittington, Director, Retail and Leisure Research, Savills - Tom has advised retailers, landlords and developers for 20 years on all things retail, from store expansion strategies, shopping centre feasibility and supermarket performance.  For the last 5 years Tom has been redirecting his efforts into thinking about ways of rationalising and improving retail places to address the needs created from over expansion.  His passion lies with creating genuine curated mixed use spaces that serve better social value, while still fulfilling the financial expectations of investors and other key stakeholders.  In January 2021, Tom launched Savills latest initiative ‘Reimagining Retail#2: Sustainable Repurposing’, a collaboration from across the industry that is intended to be the go-to manual on all things Repurposing.  https://www.savills.com/ReimaginingRetail/.  “The Repurposing journey starts with retail, but it ends with better resilient town centres and consumer hubs”.

Matthew Soffair, Research Manager, Retail & Leisure, Legal & General Investment Management is a strategist within LGIM's Real Assets division. Matt is responsible for research into consumer-facing property in the UK, informing the platform’s investment strategy alongside individual fund and asset strategies. Matt joined LGIM in August 2018 from the retail and property consultancy, CACI, where he was head of leisure consultancy and worked with a broad range of retail, leisure and FMCG operators over seven years to inform their property, merchandising and consumer engagement strategies.

Patrick Abrams, Managing Director, Applied Studio - Patrick Abrams founded Applied Studio in 2016 as a multidisciplinary architecture and interior design studio focusing on design rather than project type. Their work includes restaurants, bars, pop-ups, offices and a boutique cinema.

2/11/2021 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
GMT Standard Time

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