Current real estate investment decision making frameworks fail to recognise differences posited by the retail sector. The investment decision stage concerned with forecasting expected returns relies on financial and quantitative models such as those derived from the Modern Portfolio Theory. In a shopping mall environment, however, future performance is driven by nonfinancial factors, for example tenant mix and superior customer experience. Therefore, forecasting expected returns in a retail environment requires a nuanced approach relative to other commercial property sectors.
Using a Balanced Scorecard framework, this study investigated the usefulness of nonfinancial factors in forecasting expected returns in retail. An electronically administered survey using a sample of institutional investors that contributed to South Africa’s SAPOA/IPD Index for 2012 was conducted. Only officials occupying investment decision making positions were invited to participate in the survey. Nonfinancial factors identified from the literature were presented to the respondents on a Likert-Style scale. In aggregate, participants to the survey possessed 156 years of commercial property experience and 56 years of retail experience. Mean scores obtained from participants’ responses were used to analyse the research findings.
The study found nonfinancial factors useful when forecasting expected returns in a retail investment decision environment. Further, the study suggested the use of a Balanced Scorecard framework in order to guide developments in the area of retail investment decisions. In conclusion, the study gave direction for future research in the retail sector.