A Snapshot of Europe’s Developments

Across Europe the shopping centre market is strong. There are on going developments in all quarters producing significant opportunities for interested parties. I have highlighted four European countries; Switzerland, Poland, Austria and Belgium and looked at the shopping centre market growth within each.

Switzerland

The Mall of Switzerland is due to open autumn 2017. It is situated in the middle of the tourist hub very close to Zurich, the location is expected to ensure a high footfall from the off set. There is strong transport links in the surrounding area so it will be easily accessible, which is important due to the rise of internet shopping – if a centre is not conveniently situated, consumers won’t visit. Across magazine’s research has proven that retail areas around train stations in Switzerland enjoyed a significantly higher volume of sales than those centres with restricted access. The scheme promises a massive retail and leisure offering. The layout has an expansive open area, suitable  for festivals, markets or an open air cinema, attracting additional potential customers to the mall through a variety of different events. The scheme has revealed there will be over 150 shops and restaurants, indoor surfing, a 12 screen cinema, fitness & health club, children’s play area and a florist! This retail led mixed-use scheme is a great example of how shopping centres are becoming experience led venues.

Switzerland currently has 189 shopping centres of an average age of 28 years and a large portion of them have not been revitalised since first opened. This gives this new scheme an opportunity to be a market leader within Switzerland as a leisure and entertainment destination.

Poland

In the second half of 2016, Poland added 362,600 sq m of shopping centre space.

Transactions in the retail sector were dominant last year, accounting for approximately 55% of the total volume. These transactions led to a high number of shopping centre acquisitions which demonstrates the confidence investors have in the region. According to Savills, the volume of investment in commercial property in Poland exceeded EUR 4.0 billion last year – this is the second highest volume ever recorded.

Colliers have reported that a key focus for owners in Poland for 2016 is the modernisation of current centres. This can be seen through activities such as; developing accessibility, implementing free wi-fi or installing interactive information points to enhance the customer experience. Consumers are demanding more tenants in centres and brands have quickly responded to this. At the start of 2016 many retailers have made their debut into the Poland market including; Sketchers, Tallinder and Up8. The number of retailers increasing and centres developing and remodelling to become more attractive to consumers, clearly demonstrates the strength of the Poland shopping centre market.

Austria

The Ringstrassen Galerien in the heart of Vienna will be renamed Opera Mall Vienna and will position itself as “The Home of Affordable Luxury”. The centre is predicted to receive a high percentage of their footfall through tourists as it is situated right by the cities 5* hotels with the primary cultural venues in walking distance.

Vienna shopping centre space is in high demand, especially with international and luxury retailers fighting for space in prime locations in the city. This demand and the willingness of retailers to pay higher rent, gives landlords confidence that tenants will be fighting for floor space in their centres!

Vienna has also just released the name, tenants and additional development for the former Generali Centre. It will be renamed MAHÜ77 and is due to open before the end of the year.

Belgium

Belgium has one of the least saturated shopping centre markets in Western Europe and is expected to grow over the next two years with 136,800 sq m already under construction. There is good investment in the Belgium market which can be seen through the acquisition by AEW Europe and China Investment Corporation, of CBRE Global Investors’ Celsius Porfolio. This acquisition was the largest retail investment in Belgium of the last decade, including 10 properties in France and Belgium.

According to JLL, the first three quarters of 2015 indicated an exceptional year for retail investment, both in terms of volumes and yield, with a total investment volume of €1.2 billion in third quarter alone.

This year, two completely new shopping centres are under construction, Docks Bruxsel and Rive Gauche. Cushman & Wakefield have reported an array of statistics which demonstrate the strength of the Belgium retail market, the country is booming with investments and with demographic growth and consumers demand for more retail space, the progression is set to continue.

The number of developments and investments across the shopping centre arena is phenomenal and with the pipeline of plans so high, this growth is not looking to slow in the near future.

Kat Whitehead, Marketing & Operations, Foundation Recruitment

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