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The Warsaw Voice » Real Estate » November 30, 2010
Retail Market
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Convenience Counts
November 30, 2010   
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Magdalena Fr±tczak, Retail Director, CB Richard Ellis
Anxiety and uncertainty over what’s next: that’s how 2009 can be summed up. Developers put their projects on hold and tenants refrained from expanding their chains of stores. Now we also realize that 2009 was the worst in the last several years when it came to the number of visitors to shopping centers. The second and third quarter of this year were, on the other hand, much better and while they did not make anybody ecstatically optimistic, they did reassure the market and improve consumer moods.

In a way, the crisis was a wake-up call alerting developers that new shopping centers could not be built just anywhere by any company. A shopping center will not be equally successful in all locations, because some cities need a large and elegant shopping mall, others a supermarket with a small shopping arcade and still others a decent discount store.

A prominent trend on the market for retail space recently has been an increase in quality instead of quantity. Demanding customers are clearly growing in numbers and in order to attend to their needs, tenants have been checking out malls more thoroughly than before, looking at the architecture, functionality and other visitor-friendly features.

Another pronounced trend are so-called daily malls, where you can do the shopping quickly. Time is becoming a valuable commodity and many customers tend to avoid large supermarkets which “suck them in” for hours. Growing numbers of buyers opt for simple shopping centers with a single promenade and an easily accessible parking lot, enabling them to pick up all they need in 30-40 minutes. Off the top of my head, I can think of the Tesco supermarket (formerly Hit) on Stalowa Street in Warsaw or the new Tesco which opened earlier this year in Goc³aw in Warsaw, complete with an enlarged arcade. I thus believe that given the fast pace of life, especially in big cities, easy access and convenient location will prove to be the most important assets of shopping malls.
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