With no access to on-site retail for long periods, online orders became frequent during the Covid-19 pandemic. It was a flow of orders that also boosted warehouses, especially in terms of last mile logistics. This dynamic set the stage for the debate 'Retail & last mile logistics, two sides of the same coin?', promoted by Cushman & Wakefield, during the Portugal Real Estate Summit.
This dynamic is not surprising, after all «it is logistics that allows retailers to move their products and deliver them to the customers», commented, Sally Bruer, Partner - Logistics & Industrial, Insight & Strategy EMEA. E-commerce is not new either. However, the acceleration only arrived in 2020, «due to the lockdowns caused by the pandemic», mentioned Sally Bruer. A change brought by the pandemic, but which «should be here to stay».
Retail & logistics, two sides of the same coin? Yes, definitely
And what about logistics? What is the impact from the e-commerce increase? Up until now, «the chain was simple. But now there are more recipients: stores, customers’ houses, returns and changes services. It is very complicated for retailers», recognised Sally Bruer.
Apart from the chain’s increased complexity, there was also a cost increase, which «can be reduced with increased efficiency». «Retailers are starting to think on how to take advantage of their storage network to reduce last mile costs. For example, by reducing the exhibition area and increasing the storage space». Spaces need to be «flexible, modern buildings which meet logistic demand’ needs».
Paulo Sarmento, Head of Capital Markets da Cushman & Wakefield; Marta Cladera, Head of Iberia, Nuveen and André Machado, Senior Asset Manager at Logicor. According to the experts’ panel this is an «asset management opportunity to fit the assets to the needs of its user». It is also the time to understand the role and value real estate assets have to tenants and understanding value to investment portfolios.