A mature but also resilient sector, always looking for new ideas to relaunch itself. This is the summary of what i represent shopping centersaccording to the latest research byRetail Real Estate Observatory 2023made by Reno Your Retail Partners exclusively for Confimprese. According to the observatory’s analysis, in the last 12 months the furniture sector has recorded 3 new openings, including the recent Merlata Bloom in Milan and the closure of 5 small and locally important structures that had been in difficult conditions for some time .
The channel therefore appears to be mature, but shows signs of vitality with new openings, investments to renew the commercial proposal of existing centers and growing visitors. However, the vacancy rate also increases, linked to the difficulties in the clothing sector. Finally, the prospects for the next few years are good, with a 2024-2026 pipeline which includes 4 expansions by 2025 and 13 new openings.
“Shopping centers are aggregation channels” he explains Mario Resca, president of Confimprese, “and they must evolve with innovative ideas to attract a consumer who, also due to the inflationary pressure, buys basic necessities and reduces unnecessary expenses. Retail in Italy has a turnover of 445 billion euros with 1 million 290 thousand companies and approximately 3.4 million employees, it is a decisive employment reservoir for the country system. It is necessary that the forces of the entire supply chain are united to overcome the competitive asymmetries between physical players and online platforms”.
In the last photo taken this month, theincrease in premium shopping centers which increased by 5 units compared to last year, reaching 75. An increase due to the upgrade of centers that have innovated and have been rewarded in terms of traffic flows and the recent opening of the Merlata Bloom center. On the other hand, provincially important shopping centers fell by 3 units, stopping at 287, and local centers dropped by one unit, which now stand at 630. From the analysis of traffic on a sample of 160 shopping centres, there is an increase in flows for the second consecutive year and a change in public behavior, which tends to be better distributed throughout the daily and weekly period.
This year’s increase in visitors was 5.8% compared to 2022 and it is even more important if we consider that last year the shopping centers had already recorded a +9.9% compared to 2021. If the peak of traffic remains on the weekend and in particular on Saturdays, in the last period the phenomenon is being scaled down in favor of weekdays with differences on a case-by-case basis. In general, however, we note that the afternoon, the classic time dedicated to shopping, is giving way to other consumption opportunities such as the morning or the lunch break.
Vacancies (vacant spaces) in shopping centers increase in all ratings except in structures with a AAA rating, due to the difficulties in the clothing sector. Precisely this situation, however, in a certain sense calmed the inflationary effect of the last year and in the end, the difference with 2022 recorded only small increases. In this context, the two major trade associations, Confimprese which represents 450 retail brands and Cncc (National Council of Shopping Centers)representing 400 shopping centers (within which 16 thousand shops are located), have started a discussion with the aim of better defining the relationship between retailers and real estate properties, aiming to reach the approximately 1,300 shopping centers present in the National territory.
“The agreement with Cncc”, he continues Resca, “opens an important dialogue with our associated companies, for the continuation of an increasingly solid bond with the national association of shopping centers, which will allow us to support retailers in the development of the distribution network and in supporting consumption, which is experiencing a very delicate phase. And it is the first step towards greater collaboration between retailers and real estate for the smooth functioning of the centers.” An agreement that brings together theentire value chain of those who create, invest in and support shopping places.
“We are very satisfied with the work started with Confimprese, aimed at defining guidelines and best practices for management in shopping centres”, comments Roberto Zoia, president of Cncc. “This initiative” concludes Zoia, “is particularly important for the Cncc which brings together in a single transversal body all the stakeholders, including owners, service companies and selected retailers, connected to the shopping center industry, constituting the only representative reality of the sector. For this reason, it is constantly committed to contributing to making the relationship between tenant and landlord more profitable and effective, with a view to ever greater sharing and transparency, as well as constructive collaboration”.