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Connected retail: A strategic partnership with Zalando in Germany

#Group News
Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield Germany enters into strategic cooperation with Zalando – and offers stationary retailers the chance to connect to the omnichannel platform with immediate effect in order to cope with the COVID-19 crisis.

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield Germany is now working together with Zalando within the framework of the Connected Retail programme. This partnership enables us to connect to Europe's largest online fashion platform, reach new customers through Zalando and improve inventory turnover among participating brands. The cooperation has been launched early in order to cope with the considerable challenges faced by the retail sector due to the COVID-19 crisis. As a result, stationary retailers in the shopping centres operated by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield in Germany are now provided with an additional sales channel for their products.

Connected Retail connects stationary retailers with the Zalando platform. If a customer orders a product online, the order can be forwarded directly to an affiliated partner retailer who has it in stock. The employees in the store or a local warehouse of the retailer take care of the shipping. Our cooperation with Zalando combines online and offline trade to decentralise and optimise logistics processes – especially on the so-called last mile – and thus contributes to sustainable supply chains by reducing trips and shortening distances.

We are the first shopping centre operator to cooperate with Zalando in the Connected Retail programme. Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield will assume the role of intermediary and sales partner in this extensive network of online and offline retail. The focus is initially on major key account tenants in the greater Berlin area, we the Group operates seven shopping centres. An expansion of the partnership is already planned, with our other German assets to be connected to the platform in the immediate future. The Group currently operates 24 shopping centres in Germany – including destinations in all urban metropolitan areas.

"Due to the infrastructural connection of our centres and their urban catchment areas, we already offer our retail rental partners ideal access to their customers in the physical world. Owing to the cooperation with Zalando, we now want to provide our tenants with even better support in reaching customers in the digital world and thereby opening up our own offering to an even larger target group. Together with Zalando, we have planned the strategic partnership in detail over the past few months and have now decided to conclude the talks quickly – in particular due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the massive and existential restrictions for brick-and-mortar retail. We can start immediately with affiliating brands from the shopping centres operated by Unibail-RodamcoWestfield to Connected Retail. The system is already functional at the present time without opening the shops and is fully within the scope of the regulations of the public authorities."

Andreas Hohlmann, Managing Director Germany at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield

"We are very much looking forward to working with Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield on Connected Retail. Especially in view of the current challenges, it is great that we have concluded this partnership, making our programme accessible to an even broader range of retailers."

Carsten Keller, VP Direct-to-Consumer at Zalando SE