Shopping Malls in Italy: Pipeline clogged?
The development activities concerning shopping malls in Europe have risen in the second half of 2013, after a few rather weak years.
Russia currently has the largest total gross leasable area amounting to 23.8 million m2 and is therefore on the very top of the European ranking, followed by the UK and France with about 13.9 million m2 respectively. Germany has a total gross leasable area of 13 million m2 and is therefore ranked fourth. Italy is as well an important market for the shopping centre industry, with 12 million m2 of total gross leasable area.
The Italian shopping centre development is proceeding differently. While other large markets have largely recovered from the aftermath of the economic crisis and are slowly taking on new projects, Italy is still on a long road to recovery. Italy had experienced a huge boost in the few years before the economic crisis, since then however fewer and fewer shopping centres have been finished. Last year for instance, there had hardly been any new opening. Despite some new projects of which many are starting this year, the pipeline still seems to be a bit clogged. It seems as if only a limited number of investors dare to enter a market which is known for bureaucratic and local attributes. Furthermore, the current economic situation is predicting a few additional issues, and overall not much consumer confidence.
Currently Italy has 612 shopping malls with a retail space density of 0.21 m2 per capita. Between 2006 and 2007 there had been an increase in shopping mall space of roughly 10%, however this changed abruptly in 2008 when the increase of sales area amounted to barely 4%. Ever since, the increase of sales has been fluctuating between 2.5% and 1.5%. Even though there will be new projects, the shopping mall industry in Italy will only grow faintly. The current Top 2 projects in Italy are the department store Bozen in Bolzano, which has a gross leasable area of 60.000 m2 and is expected to open in 2016 and the Westfield Milano with a gross leasable area of 175.000 m2 which is expected to open in 2017.