Shopping Centers Today International

MAR 2016

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

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expecting Neinver growth figures for 2015 to be … 6 percent and 10 percent, for visitors and sales, respectively," said Dan- iel Losantos, who is speaking throughout this article. "We are very positive for the coming years and anticipate similar levels of growth during these. However, it is clear that we will have to be very selective about acquisitions and the loca- tions we choose for new developments." The company will be seeking to expand in European countries with a low density of outlet centers and positive re- tail macroeconomics, such as France and Germany. Not that this will be easy, Losantos says. "Although they offer a great opportunity for us to develop new outlet centers, the licens- ing processes can take very long — in many cases a few years," he said. But the company thinks less in terms of countries and more on localities within those countries. "In general we like to see opportunities not only in a country, but more specifically in a city or location," Losantos said. "In the out- let business every location is different, and you can find real cases of successful assets that happen to be in the middle of nowhere, and also some that are close to urban areas." For this year at least, the company seems to be focus- ing more on urban projects, such as Viladecans The Style Outlets (26,500 square meters of gross leasable area), near Barcelona, which is set to open this fall, and a Style Outlets– branded center outside Amsterdam (19,000 square meters). Managing outlets is not an easy business, he acknowl- edges. "Outlet assets require a specific and specialized asset management with very clear and well-executed retail strate- gies," Losantos said. "This involves intensive leasing, well- targeted marketing and tourism strategies, as well as efficient property management." The biggest risk a newcomer faces is thinking that just anyone can do it, he asserts. Outlet mall management is partly a financial business, but it is also an operating business that requires intensive management. "You have dynamic consumers that demand more from us and expect a better consumer experience," he said. Focus does seem to be something of a Losantos family trait. Neinver thrived throughout the property market col- lapse that took down so much of Spain's real estate indus- try between 2007 and 2010, according to a 2010 case study in Knowledge@Wharton, an online business journal of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. In the study, then-CEO Lagares credited Neinver's success in part to the fact that the company always stuck to niches, such as outlet centers, and never allowed its debt ratios to rise above 50 percent. Losantos concurs. "We are strong believers of niche strategies," Losantos said. "And as such, we develop our investment rationale behind that." The company has gained a lot of knowledge pursu- ing a range of businesses over the course of its history. "Throughout our 47-year story, Neinver has developed, acquired, leased and managed a wide range of property products, including business parks, industrial parks and retail assets," Losantos said. "Indeed, we cover every phase of the property cycle, and this has allowed us to become a strategic partner for key international investors to continue developing, acquiring and managing new properties within niche strategies." Between his father and his late uncle, Mario, founder of Riofisa, a major retail developer now owned by Grupo Co- lonial, Losantos could very easily have learned much of what he needed to know for his present job without even bother- ing to leave home. But his career has also involved experi- ences outside the family business, including a degree in in- dustrial engineering he earned from Universidad Pontificia de Comillas, in Madrid, an MBA he completed at Columbia University, in New York, and several years as an employee at A&G Banca Privada, Madrid. Losantos likes to golf, ski, kite-surf, water-ski, cycle, run and hunt. "Unfortunately, I don't have as much time as I wished I had for them," he said. Fortunately, being chief executive of a market-leading company in Europe's fastest- growing retail real estate segment may offer other ways to enjoy an endorphin rush. SCT M a r c h 2 0 1 6 / S C T 53 Retail Real Estate News WEEK W From the editors of Shopping Centers Today, SCTWeek is an e-newsletter delivered directly to your inbox each Friday morning with the week's most important news stories and deal announcements. Sign up at www.icsc.org/sct/sct-week

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