No other sector was quite as affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as office and retail. Imposed business closures, shorter working hours, requirements for working from home, and social distancing restrictions disrupted the two sectors and completely altered their daily processes.

While many are skeptical about just how soon things will return to normal, some industry leaders share a positive outlook about people returning to work in offices and shopping at the mall.

Canadian businessman and CEO of Brookfield Asset Management, Bruce Flatt, shares his views on what the future holds for office and retail.

The Combined Power of Online Trading and Physical Store Presence 

Although many businesses struggled and are still struggling, the e-commerce sector underwent massive growth during the pandemic. With most Canadians turning to online shopping in the face of business closures, e-commerce in the country took off.

But the future of retail doesn’t lie solely in the digital world. According to Flatt, shopping malls and retailers need to focus on creating a balance between online trading and physical store presence.

We’ve already seen several examples of just how beneficial the combination of online and offline presence can be. Shopping malls and retailers across Canada showed great ingenuity during the pandemic by offering online orders with curbside pick-ups. Several stores began offering local deliveries to loyal customers or partnering with Uber Eats and similar services to connect with their shoppers.

Other industry leaders and Canadian retail CRE investors believe diversification is the key to success in the post-COVID world. Mixed-use spaces are increasingly on the rise, proving to be some of the most lucrative investments in the long run.