After the Polish government announced a major reopening of the retail economy last month, outlets are seeing more than 80 percent of footfall on average, with convenience centres attracting between 90 percent to 100 percent clients as compared to the previous year. Such positive results are due to the fact that these types of centres are shopping destinations in their own right but only offer a limited number of options for spending free time. However, this paradoxically is now working in favour of outlet centres and convenience centres.
“We estimate that after the opening of outlets, on average, even more than 80 percent of customers have returned, compared to last year’s footfall. Similar results can be observed in the case of convenience amenities, retail parks and local shopping centres, where the visit rate is close to pre-pandemic levels,” said Anna Wysocka, Head of Retail Agency at JLL.
Do such satisfactory indicators mean a return of customers to mono-functional centres?
“In fact, before the pandemic, customers’ purchasing needs clearly indicated that we particularly value places with a well-developed gastronomic and entertainment offer. Now, on the other hand, we are in a very unique situation, when we can lean more towards smaller amenities without developed communal areas and food court zones, which in turn increases our sense of security. However, it is far too early to talk about changes to shopping trends, as important elements of shopping centres’ offer, like entertainment and gyms, have been operating for only two days. It is also worth noting that they have to operate under a sanitary regime, and the owners of some cinemas have not yet decided to reopen for viewers. Moreover, market polarization was observed even before the pandemic. For the time being, we are getting used to the new situation and are acquiring new behavioural patterns related to maintaining social distancing,” adds Anna Wysocka.
The high footfall in outlet centres is also due to the shopping habits of Polish consumers, who like to hunt for bargains. This aspect is much more marked now, as we are planning household expenses in a much more careful manner.
“It is possible that the pool of tenants in outlets will increase in the next few months. The management of stock levels in these locations, which still have spring collections in stock, will entail the need to find a place where they can be efficiently sold. In the case of convenience centres, on the other hand, greater cooperation with online shops is possible. This is a natural way of developing the centres because of their location and number of sites, as everyone wants to pick up a package quickly, without any problems, preferably in close proximity to their home,” concludes Joanna Tomczyk, Senior Research Analyst, JLL.
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