Shopping centre and retail industry body, the South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC), has joined 17 other national associations in the retail real estate sector globally in signing a landmark formal agreement with the International Council of Shopping Centres (ICSC) to highlight the industry’s role and contribution to the world economy and society.
The SACSC announced the partnership earlier this month, saying the agreements “will ensure the retail real estate industry is broadly recognised for the integral role it plays in the social, civic, and economies of communities across the globe”.
Besides the SACSC, industry associations from countries that have signed the agreement include Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.
According to a statement from the SACSC, within the European Union alone, the industry contributes 27 million jobs and nearly €2 trillion (approximately R 25 trillion) in tax revenue from retail sales.
“The collaboration that results from these agreements will create a more powerful voice for the industry, as well as a platform for members to share best practices more effectively,” it added.
Amanda Stops, Chief Executive Officer of the SACSC hailed the partnership as a momentous achievement. “To be included in such a partnership is testament to the impact and the magnitude the South African retail and shopping centre industry has.”
Stops added: “We have the sixth highest number of shopping centres in the world. The retail and shopping centre industry in SA employs many people in permanent and contractual jobs. This partnership will allow us to further enhance our industry and nurture it for future generations by sharing information and having insight into the global perspective.”
Key areas of focus of the partnership include:
• Public Affairs and Outreach — a unified voice on behalf of the retail real estate industry to enhance perception and understanding of the importance and contribution of retail destinations to the vitality of the communities they serve.
• Events, Research and Programmes — enhancing the quality of retail environments by sharing thought leadership, case studies and combining the collective insights of over 10,000 members across Europe.
• Member Benefits — better support and engagement with members, by focusing on co-operation between organisations and offering a clear value proposition.
Commenting on the partnership, Bill Kistler, the ICSC’s Executive Vice President & Managing Director for Europe, Middle-East and Africa (EMEA), said: “The new agreements are an incredible step to help move the industry forward at a time of immense change… Together we bring valuable perspective and resources to our members to help them manage change and create new opportunities.”
Josip Kardun, the ICSC’s European Chair added: “It is a pleasure to see the national associations of retail real estate partner with ICSC. By working together, we are able to give the industry a stronger voice and enable national members access to global expertise as they evolve their own markets and create new opportunities.”
The ICSC is a global retail real estate industry body with more than 70,000 members in over 100 countries worldwide.
* Content edited by Suren Naidoo