The evolution of online retail will not change Redevco’s strategy of investing in retail, according to its chief executive.

Speaking at MIPIM this week, Andrew Vaughan told IP Real Estate the company had considered a return to the European distribution sector as a consequence of growth in online shopping.

“Distribution is a big growth area and something we’ve given some thought to,” he said.

“But in times of complexity, there are two options – you either focus or you diversify.”

The company, he said, had chosen the former, preferring to concentrate on its main business of European high street retail investment, as well as out of town retail parks and inner city shopping centres.

Redevco, he said, had carried out surveys of 30,000 consumers to identify trends in shopping habits.

The growth of online retail, Vaughan said, comes at a time of lower economic growth prospects and changing demographics.

“More ‘shopping journeys’ are starting online,” he said.

“And that has implications for retail real estate, with as much as 40% of stock potentially at risk of being obsolete 15 years from now.”

A move back to core Europe following the sale of its entire Turkish business to Blackstone in 2012 has refocused the firm, Vaughan said, with Europe’s major economies back on its radar.

Deals in Paris, are likely to be followed by acquisitions in Spain, where the company has 12 staff.

A return to Italian retail real estate is unlikely, he said, despite the country’s minimal use of personal credit.

Redevco, he added, will this year invest in existing assets and properties with development potential.

The weight of capital and lack of stock, he accepted, continue to be an issue for European real estate.