Adapt to Change, say Property Industry Experts

LONDON, 24 January 2013 - The property industry needs to adapt to change, according to new research launched at the Annual Occupiers' Conference hosted by Cushman & Wakefield and Hogan Lovells yesterday, Wednesday 23 January 2013.

Prior to the event senior real estate decision makers from the UK’s largest organisations were surveyed on how they are adapting their business models to remain competitive in changing economic and social environments. The findings show that the property industry has confidence in its own growth and strategy in the UK. However, concerns remain for growth in Europe and portfolio demand.

Fewer than half of respondents (40%) said that they thought the general economic environment of the EU would improve in the next year. However more than three quarters predicted that their UK business would grow in the coming year.

The research highlighted the increasingly important role of property portfolios to occupiers, and 65% agreed that their property portfolio reflects their brand and position in the market. However the same number agreed that property portfolios cannot change as fast as fast as their business needs. A third of respondents expected their space requirements in the UK to grow in the next 12 months.

Respondents also agreed that their business has a very clear and well-articulated strategic plan and is on a pathway to achieve this, with 79% of participants agreeing and over a quarter (26%) strongly agreeing with this statement.

The research indicates that innovation has not been stifled by the economic downturn and has not affected market competition. Almost half of respondents strongly agreed that change is embraced within their business and over half (53%) were comfortable that if there is supply their property portfolio can easily accommodate change.

Commenting on the findings, Nicholas Cheffings, Global Chair of Hogan Lovells, said:

"These results confirm that real estate is a key factor for UK businesses. Whilst there is a positive outlook for the UK in terms of growth and a clear sense of strategic direction amongst those surveyed, it remains the case that flexibility of space requirements lags behind economic and corporate change."

Carlo Barel di Sant’Albano, CEO of Cushman & Wakefield, EMEA, added:

"Adapting to change to remain competitive in today’s fast moving business environment is a challenge all organizations face.  The critical role of real estate in corporate change must not be under estimated and the winners will ensure it is at the very heart of their business planning process.”

High profile speakers at the event, hosted at Howick Place and attended by 150 top real estate decision makers, included broadcaster and former Editor at The Sunday Times and The Economist Andrew Neil, and Richard Reed, the dynamic entrepreneur and co-founder of Innocent, who discussed their experiences of "Adapting to Change" in a business and political landscape.

Watch a short video of highlights from the conference below:


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