Market shares of shopping centers: strong discrepancies in Europe

Although retail sales in most European countries are largely stagnating or even declining, retail spaces in shopping centers continue to grow. Accordingly, the market shares of this synthetic form of trade are also growing.
With regard to the area shares of shopping centers in the total sales area, one can clearly distinguish between countries with an evolved trade structure, i.e. Western European countries, and Eastern European countries with a communist past and, virtually, no trade structures. In Western European countries, the share of shopping centers in the total sales area rests mostly around 30%. There are some downward deviations (Greece: 9%), and upward deviations in Scandinavian countries, especially Sweden (69%), due to weather conditions and settlement structures. The share of shopping center space in Eastern European countries is clearly linked to their developmental stage at the time of the 2008 financial crisis. Countries like Slovenia (51%), which was strongly developed, and those with a particularly large number of projects in the pipeline, such as Bulgaria (71%), demonstrate higher figures. The average share of shopping centers in the retail space in Eastern European countries is around 40%, which is significantly higher than in the West.
The share of shopping centers in Europe continues to grow. Projects of 15 million m² size are currently developed across Europe (including Turkey and Russia). One may, however, assume that only half of these projects will be ever realized. In Western Europe, where the shopping center development has recently shrunk, the problem amounts to the lack of construction areas and to certain legal restrictions. Moreover, retail trade is simply not as expansive, as it was a few years ago.
The UK is currently the most popular investment market, with € 3.8 billion invested in the second half of 2015. Great Britain has potential: shopping center shares currently constitute only 33% of the total retail space. London expects a significant increase in the number of shopping centers, as the retail sales grow at above-average rates, while there are currently relatively few shopping centers in the city. Significant growth is also expected in Prague, with current shopping center shares in the Czech Republic being at 36%. The Nordic countries are among the forerunners: shopping centers in Sweden (69%), Norway (58%) and Finland (48%) are among the largest in Europe. The potential for new shopping centers in these countries is, correspondingly, low.
In CEE countries, major projects were realized in Russia, Poland and Turkey, in the first place. Five of the largest shopping centers in Europe are located in Russia. Here, Europe's largest shopping center -the Avia Park - has recently opened, providing 230.000 m² of rental space. As a result, the market share of synthetic trading areas (43%) is already rather high.

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