Shopping mall industry in the SEE countries: Slovenia and Croatia stand out
Slovenia is in terms of the shopping mall density currently the most advanced market. With 0.38 sqm per inhabitant, the country occupies a top position not only in the SEE countries but also in all European countries. The density value is thus also higher than for example in a similar country like Austria, whose inhabitants, however, have a one third higher purchasing power. Croatia is similarly high with 0.33 sqm/inhabitant, yet the purchasing power is still far below that of Slovenia. These extraordinarily high densities are explained by the fact that during the boom years 2006 – 2009 a third of the area was built in these two countries.
In Romania and Bulgaria, on the other hand, the shopping center boom started somewhat later - and was then suddenly interrupted by the economic crisis in 2008. The consequence is a relatively low density, although a look at the current "pipeline" shows that the two countries are once again back to the focus of Western investors.
The herd mentality seems to be a phenomenon that is often observed when it comes to real estate development. Croatia and Slovenia represent another good example. The already particularly high density, which many Western European countries with a much higher purchasing power are not able to reach, is joined by a wide array of especially large-scale projects. When or even whether, these projects will ever be realized in Croatia ( in total 330.000 sqm) and Slovenia (in total 110.000 sqm) , depends much less on public authorities or how it is financed, but more whether the retailers can be convinced about the project - which in the current retail situation is not going to be so easy.
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