2018: a year to remember
A historic year for the Group
The future of retail is full of opportunities, and we are excited to be shaping it. From new retail concepts to open innovation and creating better places, we aim to stay ahead and anticipate what is next in a continuously evolving industry.
Retail is undergoing swift and radical change. The advent of digital technology has disrupted consumption patterns, with three major intersecting trends coming into play :
Online shopping grows, yet the physical store endures. In a hyper-connected world, individuals are in search of palpable experiences as much as convenience. Seeking the best of both worlds, a new type of consumer has emerged: the omnichannel shopper. Whether they are browsing online and buying in store, or the other way around, it is our role to connect the dots and meet customers where they shop.
Physical and online retail are converging. Established brick-and-mortar retailers have well understood the necessity of engaging customers through more agile digital platforms, effectively carrying out half of today’s online business. Meanwhile, Digital Native Vertical Brands (DNVBs) such as Amazon, Warby Parker, Kylie Cosmetics and Casper are entering the real world – with our shopping centres as the perfect gateway. The digital customer journey remains limited by the size of the screen. And the physical store provides a sensory experience that is impossible to replicate online – thus becoming a major element of differentiation. By providing brands with exceptional spaces that benefit from strong consumer appeal, we offer them a unique opportunity to forge an emotional connection with their customers and increase brand loyalty.
In this new paradigm, digital is not a threat – it is an opportunity. Data enables us to engage with the omnichannel shopper more efficiently through our digital apps and social media, designing an integrated user experience across multiple touchpoints. By driving customers to cutting-edge in-store experiences, we fully embrace the hybrid nature of retail. We create a tailored experience for our visitors, offering exceptional services, original concepts and high-end entertainment. From clicks to bricks, we ensure dialogue between physical and online retail, providing visitors with an enriched, seamless shopping experience.
Thinking ahead is in our DNA and our teams are constantly looking for new trends, evolutions and ideas. This time, we took it one step further and our Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s team in the UK imagined a visionary destination, meant to depict a shopping centre ten years from now. From futurologists to fashion and technology innovators, from retail specialists to experimental physiologists, a group of experts helped us bring the “Destination 2028” concept to life.
The future of retail is multifaceted and complex. It is omnichannel and experiential. “Destination 2028” depicts hyper-connected micro-cities, places where social interaction becomes central, communities are built and shopping is part of a wider experience, bringing the best in dining, entertainment and events. It integrates important consumer trends such as smart technologies and wellness in sustainable environments.
“Destination 2028” imagines the concept of classroom retail where the makers of the products meet the shoppers: craftspeople create masterpieces in front of a crowd, resident artists paint in studios and live galleries, pop-up and temporary retail animate the building, and co-working spaces mix business and leisure.
We innovate today to deliver our strategy and create the urban places of tomorrow. By placing innovation at the heart of our strategy, we are able to serve our ambition to be the preferred partner for brands and retailers, and be the go-to destination for customers. The rise of new technology, combined with changing consumer expectations, have set the scene for a new era and we are exploiting this to create unprecedented opportunities. Together with our strategy of concentration and differentiation, we choose innovation as our way to stay ahead and transform an ever-evolving industry.
We believe that open innovation is the best way to source and foster new ideas and solutions. Through our innovation hub, we ensure that promising concepts receive the resources they deserve. We focus on the most scalable projects in our shopping centres and offices to increase the value we bring to visitors and partners. We work with startups like Too Good to Go, Workwell and Mallcomm to find new solutions to industry challenges, and we partner with a variety of companies and organisations like Engie and Cisco to explore new trends. We collaborate with venture capital funds like Partech, Raise and Blisce/. Internally, we encourage our talents to develop innovative ideas through the dedicated “Innovation Champion” Graduate Programme.
We continuously leverage URW Lab, our lab for innovation, and URW Link, our open innovation platform, to accelerate our digital transformation, reshape our shopping destinations through the introduction of new concepts and activities, and nourish our development projects, making them more sustainable and connected to their environment.
Find out more
01. Strengthen desire
Be the preferred partner for digital-native and sustainable retailers entering the physical retail space
01. Strengthen desire
Design appealing mixed-use destinations where people can shop, work and get together to share memorable experiences
01. Strengthen desire
Ensure seamless customer experiences by continuously enhancing our standards of service
02. Strengthen impact
Generate more value from every sqm by merging online and offline logistics operations to meet omnichannel standards
02. Strengthen impact
Leverage data and digital infrastructure to better interact with customers and create more value
03. Strengthen agility
Better manage buildings, reduce our carbon impact and create new revenue streams through IoT and Cloud technologies
We concentrate on the best assets in the world’s most dynamic cities to create a portfolio of exceptional destinations that are well-connected to individual and collective transportation hubs. Such ideal locations are rare and we focus on their densification to accompany the vibrant urban development that surrounds them. By focusing our business on the most desirable catchment areas, we take advantage of the unique opportunity to work hand in hand with local actors and communities to build the cities of tomorrow.
We create places that integrate everyday life features, blending cultural, residential, commercial, and entertainment facilities – places to shop, work and enjoy memorable experiences. Our future developments create mixed-use communities bringing together quality retail, the largest and most sought after food halls, offices and co-working spaces, hotels, housing, spas and fitness clubs, as well as venues for prominent and international events.
In London, close to 4,000 new homes are planned across our two shopping centres and development project in Croydon. The first phase of the residential development at Westfield London is close to completion with 89 new affordable homes to be delivered in early 2019.
In Paris, Les Ateliers Gaîté is a prime example of the mixed-use evolution. In the bustling Montparnasse district, this urban development project will feature nearly a hundred shops, the largest food hall in Europe close to 5,000 sqm, offices, housing, a hotel, a nursery and a public library.
In San Diego, Palisade at Westfield UTC will feature a 23-story upscale residential tower, set to open in summer 2019. The tower will include 300 high-rise homes offering 360° degree views of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding landscapes together with premium amenities, putting residents steps away from exclusive shopping, dining and entertainment at Westfield UTC. In the future, Westfield UTC will also be home to a new regional transit centre, serving as the terminus for the new San Diego trolley line, connecting downtown San Diego to the La Jolla area.
In Hamburg, we are currently developing a spectacular mixed-used district in the heart of one of the most highly-regarded urban development projects: HafenCity. In this completely new area, we are developing Westfield Hamburg – a landmark just south of the city centre - with extraordinary architecture and a wide range of modern amenities, such as connected services and seamless parking technology. With three residential buildings, three hotels and three office buildings, including an iconic tower designed by 2018 laureate of the Pritzker Prize, Christian de Portzamparc, the project will include places to live and work, with leisure facilities, innovative retail and entertainment concepts, and a state-of-the-art cruise terminal, all accessible via a well-connected transport system.