Retail is not dead and regionally dominant shopping centres offer an attractive value play

  • 30 January 2019 (10 min read)

Executive summary:

  • The consumer has taken control of the retail relationship which is putting pressure on retailers’ margins, as they face increased competition and a need to invest in a full reconfiguration of their supply chain to offer an “Omni-channel” distribution model
  • This pressure on retailers’ margins is likely to limit rental value growth prospects over the short-term, as traditional bricks and mortar retailers’ space consolidations leave more voids than online pure play retailers establishing a physical presence absorb
  • In our view, regionally dominant shopping centres and second-tier tourist-oriented city high streets represent an attractive “value play” for investors, as we feel the entire sector is being tainted by the same doomsday brush despite the fact that the operational performance of these schemes remains strong
  • The sector is not without risks, as highlighted by the continued raft of retailer failures and bankruptcies which could be exacerbated if an economic downturn materialised over the short term. In addition, for those schemes that remain viable and in demand, the retailer-landlord relationship has to respond to a shorter retail life cycle and increased ambiguity across ultimate sales channels
  • Ultimately, we do not think the developed world will stop consuming but rather that the retail landscape is evolving and store footprints are changing to be focused on the highest footfall locations where retailers can engage with consumers to showcase their brand
  • In addition, the rising global middle class and subsequent increase in tourism should continue to support growth in the Factory Outlet Centre (FOC) model, which offers investors a defensive late-cycle play, as it combines the experience, discount and luxury offer being demanded by consumers

The retail market is under pressure as it responds and adapts to the disruptive force of the internet on its traditional business model. However, retail is far from dead as consumers will continue to shop – only in a different manner – and brands which are able to adapt to the new “Omni-channel”1  retail model will end up in a stronger financial position, making them viable credit tenants for retail landlords. Furthermore, this increasingly complex and new retail environment emphasises physical retail formats that cater to either convenience or the retail experience. The latter having become increasingly important to shoppers. During this transition phase, retailers would be extremely vulnerable to an economic recession but we feel the sector has fallen so far out of favour – with limited differentiation by scheme quality – so as to provide an attractive entry point for long-term investors able to cherry pick the top, dominant locations with high footfall which successful retailers will continue to target for occupancy.

  • “Omni-channel” combines physical and online commerce, but also increasingly involves social media as a new trading channel

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    This website is published by AXA Investment Managers Asia (Singapore) Ltd. (Registration No. 199001714W) for general circulation and informational purposes only. It does not constitute investment research or financial analysis relating to transactions in financial instruments, nor does it constitute on the part of AXA Investment Managers or its affiliated companies an offer to buy or sell any investments, products or services, and should not be considered as solicitation or investment, legal or tax advice, a recommendation for an investment strategy or a personalized recommendation to buy or sell securities. It has been prepared without taking into account the specific personal circumstances, investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any particular person and may be subject to change without notice. Please consult your financial or other professional advisers if you are unsure about the information contained herein.

    Due to its simplification, this publication is partial and opinions, estimates and forecasts herein are subjective and subject to change without notice. There is no guarantee forecasts made will come to pass. Data, figures, declarations, analysis, predictions and other information in this publication is provided based on our state of knowledge at the time of creation of this publication. Whilst every care is taken, no representation or warranty (including liability towards third parties), express or implied, is made as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information contained herein. Reliance upon information in this material is at the sole discretion of the recipient. This material does not contain sufficient information to support an investment decision.

    All investment involves risk, including the loss of capital. The value of investments and the income from them can fluctuate and investors may not get back the amount originally invested.

    Some of the Services and/or products may not be available for offer to retail investors.

    This publication has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

    Disclaimer

    This website is published by AXA Investment Managers Asia (Singapore) Ltd. (Registration No. 199001714W) for general circulation and informational purposes only. It does not constitute investment research or financial analysis relating to transactions in financial instruments, nor does it constitute on the part of AXA Investment Managers or its affiliated companies an offer to buy or sell any investments, products or services, and should not be considered as solicitation or investment, legal or tax advice, a recommendation for an investment strategy or a personalized recommendation to buy or sell securities. It has been prepared without taking into account the specific personal circumstances, investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any particular person and may be subject to change without notice. Please consult your financial or other professional advisers before making any investment decision.

    Due to its simplification, this publication is partial and opinions, estimates and forecasts herein are subjective and subject to change without notice. There is no guarantee forecasts made will come to pass. Data, figures, declarations, analysis, predictions and other information in this publication is provided based on our state of knowledge at the time of creation of this publication. Whilst every care is taken, no representation or warranty (including liability towards third parties), express or implied, is made as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information contained herein. Reliance upon information in this material is at the sole discretion of the recipient. This material does not contain sufficient information to support an investment decision.

    All investment involves risk, including the loss of capital. The value of investments and the income from them can fluctuate and investors may not get back the amount originally invested.

    Some of the Services and/or products may not be available for offer to retail investors.

    This publication has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.