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A new dedicated European trade association for retail property and mixed-use destinations

Launched this week in Brussels, the European Council of Shopping Places (ECSP) will provide a European voice for an industry that designs, creates, funds, develops, builds and manages places anchored by retail across Europe. ECSP membership will comprise companies and national associations and it will act as a go to platform and information hub to support the interests of its members and the communities they serve.

Our industry employs more than 6.3 million people, generates an annual turnover of €750 billion and represents almost 160 million sqm of floorspace. However, the current Covid-19 crisis has hit the sector particularly hard, with the closure of hundreds of thousands of shops, stores, bars, restaurants, and places of commerce across Europe. As a founding member of ECSP, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield is committed to lead the dialogue and work alongside all stakeholders for the future of the industry. By bringing together our concerns, aspirations and expertise; and sharing best practices, news innovations and trends, we will move forward towards a strong future.

“At this crucial moment in time, Europe’s retail property sector needs a single, unifying voice that represents an industry in the midst of a fundamental transformation, that is increasingly converting pure retail spaces into ‘mixed-use centres’ matching the highest sustainability standards and adding many other activities to become genuine community hubs. These form an integral part of the urban fabric across Europe and the public, our customers, depend on us to shop, eat, socialise and to entertain themselves. As we look to the future and the road to economic recovery, we want to promote the values and aspirations of a dynamic sector that contributes so much to European society and which has often proved an important lifeline to many communities throughout this crisis.”

Peter R. Wilhelm, Chairman of the ECSP Board and CEO of Wilhelm & Co Group



ECSP will promote the wider objectives and priorities of its members and will seek to focus on a number of activities that will include advocacy, events, research, and broader reputation and promotional activities. The new association will also host a number of active committees and working groups focused on important core areas such as sustainability, research, public policy, security and property management and future trends.

ECSP has 15 members at the moment of its launch. Its founding members currently include some of Europe’s largest retail property development companies and investors such as ECE, SES Spar European Shopping Centers, Sonae Sierra, Wilhelm & Co as well as the Italian Council of Shopping Centres (CNCC Italia). Furthermore, several other National Councils of Shopping Centres/Places have also already joined as members, including: the Austrian Council of Shopping Places (ACSP), the Belgian and Luxembourg Council of Retail and Shopping Centers (BLSC), the French Council of Shopping Centres (CNCC), the German Council of Shopping Places, and the Portuguese Council of Shopping Centers (APCC).

To date the ECSP has written to the European Commission asking it to consider three actions to help the retail real estate industry during the pandemic, including:

  • consideration of the retail property industry in any financial or other supporting measures;
  • setting up a specific EU Retail Relief Fund to financially support the entire retail industry as part of the EU recovery action plan;
  • consider how many member states are amending laws that allow rental payments in the retail sector to be cancelled or postponed.

ECSP has also made a public commitment to stand ready to work together with the Commission and any other EU Institution or national authority to contribute in the best possible and most efficient way to the Roadmap and Action Plan for recovery.