During the Great Lockdown of 2020, les Echos reported the touristic town of Cannes was one of the five places in France worst affected, alongside Disneyland and Paris CDG airport. Last week, after two years away, I got to see a different-looking Cannes. During the past 20 months of restricted international travel, the iconic Carlton, Martinez and JW Marriott hotels have all chosen to have major Botox treatments. Even the top of the famous rue d’Antibes is now scarred by some empty stores.
In the league table of coronavirus winners and losers, retail property, like Cannes, is one of the worst affected. Last week’s MAPIC trade fair in Cannes – Europe’s leading retail property event – was a tangible barometer of how fast the retail industry is reshaping itself. The rejuvenated event felt almost unrecognisable from its storied past. Now 26 years old, a humbler MAPIC looked younger and certainly much slimmer.
Le ‘MAPIC’ (the market for ‘professionnels de l’immobilier de commerce‘) is the creative little sister of MIPIM, the springtime Cannes event for the wider property industry. The same company organises both conferences, but retail MAPIC has a more bohemian feel than its better-known big brother – with less black leather shoes and more moccasins and sneakers.