Retail Crosses a Bridge this Week in Istanbul

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NEWSFLASH: ICSC European Conference Update: This week the retail industry gathers in Istanbul, Turkey for the 2014 ICSC European Conference to examine how shopping centers can innovate, analyze how to meet changing consumer demands and learn about future growth – and after a few delayed flights from the United States, I finally made it!

My arrival flight descended over the rural countryside of Turkey, and then approached the urban areas and city over the Sea of Marmara, which spans from the Picture1Mediterranean Sea to the Black Sea. The ride to the hotel provided me a first glimpse of the coutnry – the edge towards the Bosphorus Strait through the Asian side of the city felt very similar to driving through Queens or the older parts of Brooklyn; lots of mid-rise residential buildings with retail everywhere, but mostly local shops and restaurants. After crossing the river that splits the city in two, we climbed steep hills into the European side of the city. Here the buildings are much more ornate and have an older feel. There seemed to be more foot traffic in this part, and international, well-known retailers (though still not many from the US!)

The first night of the conference was centered on networking at the opening reception. I’m finding that the conference has a very diverse makeup –  my table at dinner included attendees from Holland, UK, Germany, Russia, Finland, France, Turkey and me from the U.S.  — fortunately, they all agreed to have the dinner conversation in English so I could keep up!

While I’m attending the conference I’ll continue to post to this blog, describing my activities, sharing the sentiment of the sessions I attend, the people I meet and the mood I find in Istanbul. Please feel free to comment and share these updates with friends and clients. Follow @JLLRetail on Twitter #EuroConf  for more updates from the conference.

BY: JUSTIN GREIDER, U.S. ambassador of the ICSC Next Generation program, JLL Retail Florida

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