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‘Urban regeneration’ urged by keynote speaker Ibrahim Ibrahim

22 Oct 2019

Christmasworld’s ‘Premium’ business programme has invited Ibrahim Ibrahim, CEO Portland Design Associates London, to take the stage as keynote speaker on 27 January 2020. His speech has the title ‘Urban regeneration: the internet will not kill shops, it will liberate them!’ This short interview provides an advance look at some of his ideas.

Christmasworld’s ‘Premium’ business programme will provide more details, information and insights. On 27 January 2020, it will bring together representatives from city and town marketing departments, local administrations, the retail trade and shopping centres, and invite them to take part in exclusive guided tours of Christmasworld, the leading international trade fair for seasonal and festive decoration. There will be a particular emphasis on ways to make social and consumer spaces more attractive.

Ibrahim Ibrahim, CEO Portland Design Associates London
Ibrahim Ibrahim, CEO Portland Design Associates London

Keynote speaker Ibrahim Ibrahim will focus on the needs of consumers and urge towns and cities, as well as the retail trade, to give greater weight to story-telling, services, emotional experiences and convenience in future. His agency, Portland, is one of the leading international branding and retail design agencies. It is centrally concerned with brand design, encouraging brand loyalty and specific consumer behaviours in both digital and real worlds. Urban change is one of Portland’s specialisms.

1. What do you mean by ‘liberation’ of shops when you say: “The internet will not kill shops, it will liberate them!”?

As transaction and fulfilment moves away from physical shops, they will become creative platforms for customer recruitment and retention. That will liberate the shops to become wonderful social experiences for interest and brand communities, combining shopping, hospitality, entertainment, co-working and learning. The consumer experiences in these shops will be ephemeral and will thrive on the power of surprise. The new shops will create ‘happiness’ (on the principle of serendipity).

2. What would you recommend cities to do, in order keep up with the requirements of (future) customers?

It is all about variety and surprise in the retail environment: this emerges through the matching of products and services on the one hand and interests on the other. To involve creative start-ups, a variety of spaces with different rent levels must be offered. Additionally, we need to create some affordable accommodation again in town centres. And traffic calming measures can help encourage cross connection of offers on both sides of the high street.

3. How can shopping centres survive?

The concepts that have the best prospects of success are those which offer retail and F&B services in combination with community ones.

By offering well-known brands alongside new labels, we can achieve synergy effects which attract customers. Interesting multi-cultural offers, which appeal to local ethnic population groups, as well as to customers who value authenticity and local specialities, make for vitality and variety in the shopping centre.

4. What are the central concepts for urban architecture in this context?

To drive the design of urban architecture forwards, we need to understand the cultural context of the people who live there. And then we need to take account of the wishes and needs of the people who use this space to shop or work.

Urban architecture must be open to the requirements of various different user groups (students, families, senior citizens, etc.). It should blur the distinctions between the physical and the digital, be part of the urban grain, responding to the trends that will drive future user behaviour, and it should be culturally relevant.

Sign up now and secure real advantages!

‘Premium’ visitors benefit from some very significant advantages when it comes to convenience and services. These include: free entry to Christmasworld on all days of the show, admission to the exclusive Premium Lounge in the ‘Symmetrie’ room in Hall 8.1 (on Monday of the show), where the keynote speech will be given by Ibrahim Ibrahim (CEO of the Portland Agency London). It also includes admission to the ‘Best Christmas City’ award ceremony, free use of the Tulip Lounge (on all days of the show), networking opportunities and guided tours, including all-day catering and cloakroom services, VIP parking in the grounds of the Exhibition Centre or, alternatively, free travel on local public transport (RMV).

You can register for the ‘Premium’ programme free of charge up until 19 January 2020 at: Please use the registration code, CWP280.


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Christmasworld: Seasonal Decoration at its best
Christmasworld is the world’s most important order venue for the international decoration and festive articles sector. Held annually in Frankfurt, it presents the latest products and trends for all festivities of the year and provides innovative concept ideas for decorating large-scale and outdoor areas for the wholesale and retail trades, shopping centres, DIY markets and the green sector. Christmasworld is characterised by the complete spectrum of festive decorations while a wide-ranging complementary programme with Trend Show, special exhibitions, events and expert lectures is a valuable and informative source of supplementary inspiration for everyday business life in the sector. The 2019 event was attended by 1,085 exhibitors from 44 countries and over 45,300 visitors from 123 countries.

Conzoom Solutions – the platform for retailers
Conzoom Solutions is a knowledge platform that offers the consumer goods industry a wide range of studies, trend presentations, workshops and guidelines for the point of sale. It provides a complete overview of Messe Frankfurt’s international portfolio in the consumer goods sector – bundling a wide range of information for retailers.

Background information on Messe Frankfurt
Messe Frankfurt is the world’s largest trade fair, congress and event organiser with its own exhibition grounds. With more than 2,500 employees at 30 locations, the company generates annual sales of around €718 million. We have close ties with our industry sectors and serve our customers’ business interests efficiently within the framework of our Fairs & Events, Locations and Services business fields. One of the Group’s key USPs is its closely knit global sales network, which extends throughout the world. Our comprehensive range of services – both onsite and online – ensures that customers worldwide enjoy consistently high quality and flexibility when planning, organising and running their events. The wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, personnel and food services. Headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, the company is owned by the City of Frankfurt (60 percent) and the State of Hesse (40 percent).

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