The CEE Retail Awards and CEO Networking Forum in Warsaw constitute a significant event in the European retail real estate market, drawing entrepreneurs, investors, and retail representatives annually. As in previous years, the event addressed key trends, opportunities, and challenges facing the commercial retail real estate sector.

During the discussions, issues related to ESG and decarbonization, digitalization, demographics, and the future of retail development were raised. Additionally, topics such as finding opportunities for development, retail market analyses, and difficulties in preparing property valuations were highlighted. Nevertheless, aspects concerning the investment sector and sources of raising capital remained key. On the demand side, it was pointed out that tenants are diversifying their expansion strategies.

Experts highlighted the growing number of retail park developments and investments in the sector. There was much more discussion about looking for opportunities and building joint investment initiatives, which was highlighted as one of the most frequent ways in which capital will not come from a single source.

Panelists agreed that the retail real estate sector, despite temporary challenges, is a promising market that is likely to return to growth as early as the second half of 2024. At the same time, market participants noted the need for a flexible approach to changing market conditions and adaptation of investment and development strategies to new circumstances.

A growing number of investors and developers are recognizing the importance of ESG from a moral perspective and as a factor in investment profitability. Companies that implement environmental, social responsibility, and good governance initiatives gain a competitive advantage in the market. At the same time, ESG is becoming an increasingly important criterion for investors, who expect their portfolios to be managed with these values in mind. ESG-compliant investments can bring both financial and social benefits.

The decisions of the European Central Bank on interest rates for the next few years remain particularly important for the future of activities. Their stabilization seems crucial for further development of the sector. There is no unanimity among investors and developers as to whether the recovery in the industry will come as early as 2024 or as late as 2025.