The number of new shopping center openings in Europe has slowed to the lowest rate since 2005, according to new research from Cushman & Wakefield. Just 2.1 million m² of shopping center gross lettable area (GLA) was added to the market in the first half of 2010. A total of 64 centers opened a decrease of around 50% year on year compared to the same period in 2009, which saw 120 center openings.
Virtually all European countries have seen shrinking pipelines in recent years. In total, 10 countries saw no new shopping center openings in the first half of 2010, including the Czech Republic, Hungary and Ireland. Completion levels are not expected to pick up in the short term, although the number of new development projects may increase in some countries next year, depending on the pace of economic recovery and, in particular, domestic demand/ retail sales.
With a combined 2010/11 shopping center pipeline accounting for just over half of the European total, Russia and Turkey still top the pipeline 'league table' of shopping centers. Russia recorded the highest amount of new center space in the first half of 2010 with just under 430,000 m² GLA completed, of which 41% was located in Moscow. The 130,000-m² Vegas shopping center in Moscow, which opened in June, was by far the largest scheme completed in the first six months of 2010.
France and Italy have the largest pipeline of new space in Western Europe. In France, which has seen a strong increase in retail development in recent years, the focus is on smaller centers in secondary cities. There has been a relatively steady level of development in Italy where the pipeline figures for 2010 and 2011 indicate a slowdown of 25-30% on the 10-year average for annual completions.
Central and Eastern Europe continue to top the chart in terms of percentage increase in floor space. Bulgaria saw a 96% increase in total shopping center floorspace in the first half of 2010. Bosnia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia all also experienced growth in floorspace of around 5-10%. In Western Europe Italy and Germany recorded the largest amount of new space. There were six new center openings in Italy, adding just under 170,000 m² of GLA to the market. In Germany five new shopping centers opened and six extensions/ redevelopments took place, resulting in around 150,000 m² of GLA being added.
Darren Yates, Associate in Cushman & Wakefield's European Research Group, said: "Based on current data, total shopping center completions look set to fall to around the 5 million m