The DNA of Retail

Wrriten by: Javier Sordo Madaleno Bringas | July 26, 2017

You can read this article in: Español | English | 中國

This text was originally published in issue 101 of the magazine Real Estate in 2015: “Retail en Evolución”. Here, Javier Sordo Madaleno provides evidence of the changes and the challenges and opportunities that have arisen in the Mexican sphere of commercial architecture, and concisely explains how to deal with these challenges.

We are undergoing an unprecedented period in commercial development in Mexico, with the involvement of major developers, both Mexican and international, which have large financial institutions backing them. This has led to the boom in the construction of retail developments we have seen over the past few years.

Over 200 shopping malls are expected to be built in Mexico over the next 10 years. We must show responsibility to avoid the risk of an excess in the supply of retail space, which can lead to a collapse in rental prices and the ??? of some or many developments.

It is estimated that at the present moment, over two million square meters of retail space are under construction in the country—a remarkable figure.


The trend is for ever larger and grander developments, which is why we are seeing developments of over 100,000 m2 without anchor stores, due to a large extent to retail brands and groups that have taken the decision to invest and try their luck in Mexico. For me, this is the positive aspect for both consumer and developer, since there are now a large number of brands with a professional, well-grounded approach. At the same time, as an industry we have to be careful. That is one of the great paradigms of retail development in this country.

Another of the great challenges confronting the industry in our cities is mobility, a factor that becomes more critical each day. As private enterprise, we should be working together with the authorities to develop public transport systems. As a result, this will make it possible to take the decision either to develop the suburbs or return to the city centers, and define the commercial model to be used to resolve the needs of a community.


We should never forget that, as an industry, our responsibility is for new developments to have a positive impact on the zone and the residents around them. If we achieve this objective, we will have better cities with a good quality of life, as well as proud and satisfied consumers.

There are technological aspects that are impacting on consumer habits, such as online retail, which is growing at a vertiginous pace. Undoubtedly this will change the way people shop, and as a result how new retail spaces are designed as well as how many are built in future.

In light of this, the architecture and design of retail spaces will be decisive to their success. Above all, it is necessary to think not only about the retail on offer, but about creating an experience for the consumer based on mixes, twists, entertainment, and—why not?—art. I firmly believe that art should escape museums to the street, and to commercial spaces too.


To keep our developments alive and up to date and create experiences, we have to do a lot of work in the community, through activations that make our spaces living and changing spaces that welcome us with different events, with activities that surprise us and alter our expectations.

In the future, I see a lot of competition for the consumer, together with the large number of new brands that will soon join the market.

I believe that the smartest and strongest developments will be the leaders of the future, not necessarily the largest ones. The innovations and experiences we generate in them, together with their adaptation to their surroundings and their community will be the factor that will define the success or failure of our developments.

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