How is the internet affecting retail logistics?

The European and global logistics sector has been transformed by the emergence of pure play internet retailers and omni-channel retailers, all of whom have large scale and expanding requirements for distribution space in the key European markets.

This is a common issue for any retailer with e-commerce as a component of their offer.

In addition, a number of grocery retailers are beginning to open so-called ‘dark stores’, which service their online orders through ‘stores’ dedicated purely to picking and delivery. Notable among these are Tesco around the M25 in London and Auchan in the Greater Paris region, with the latter part-owner of the specialist ChronoDrive.

On 28 November Retail Property Analyst will run the third of its acclaimed iGeneration conferences looking at the impact of these fundamental and exciting changes on the European investment sector. The conference will explain the history of the sector, its current situation and the look forward to the major changes continuing to reshape the opportunities for logistics.

Indeed, logistics has traditionally been seen as a somewhat unglamorous element of the real estate sector, often more closely associated with the industrial sector and with comparatively few serious institutional investors. The market was hit hard by the 2008 economic crisis and the vacancies that arose. It has also been impacted by aging stock and the lack of finance available for speculative development.

Yet the emergence of the e-commerce sector has transformed this situation but the sector remains largely misunderstood and e-commerce requirements are also demanding changes in the way that locations are chosen and the type and size of distribution buildings required – with a range of sizes and locations emerging as the most popular. There is likely to be a further evolution of some of these demands.

Mark Faithfull, editor of Retail Property Analyst, says: “We spent a long time talking to senior players within the logistics sector and there is no comparable event. Logistics is going through seismic change and some genuine opportunities – arguably unique to the real estate sector – are becoming available. This conference will drill down to examine those and to work out what it means for investment.”

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