Cushman & Wakefield has published a new report on European retail parks. This comprehensive analysis shows us that in 2018 the European retail park floorspace increased by 2.2%, or 995,000 square metres, reaching a total of 50.1 million square metres. It’s an impressive increase, which is set to continue in the years to come.
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First off, that physical retail remains very much alive. The industry is changing under the influence of online shopping, but consumers are still up for the affordable, convenient, flexible and accessible shopping experience that is the trademark of these retail parks.
Not quite. It’s clear that France and Spain are frontrunners when it comes to new schemes. Western Europe is still the driving force behind this trend, with developments mainly in larger cities with strong catchment areas and high pedestrian footfall.
Central and Eastern Europe have focused on smaller schemes in smaller cities. In some countries, like Bulgaria, as market conditions have evolved retailers have looked to expand to second- and third-tier cities, providing opportunities for retail parks with a mix of easy access, affordable rent and quality tenants.
Germany, the UK and France remain the largest markets, accounting for over 74% of total retail park space. In France, we see a new generation of retail parks on the rise, with improved design appealing to occupants and visitors alike. In the UK, the trend remains stable, with consumers staying loyal to their convenient and easily accessible out-of-town retail locations.
Well, while 2018 was a surprisingly good year for development in Spain, with a four-fold increase from 2017, Portugal showed limited activity.
The Czech Republic, Romania and Poland remain the strongest players in the region, accounting for 66% of the regional retail park market. Local retail parks serving their primary towns or regional catchment seem to be getting the upper hand.
Romania recorded the highest growth, with 76,000 square metres added to the market. Retail park development has accelerated in both Poland and Slovakia, with interest spurred by demand from small town consumers for more convenient shopping facilities.
As we stated in our introduction, the outlook for the coming years looks positive. With 1.4 million square metres of retail park space scheduled to open in 2020, the positive trend seems stable. Still, this does mark a decrease of approximately 15% compared to 2017.
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