The future of malls is not in shopping and those that want to survive in the market will need to change the format, as concluded at the panel titled “Future of Retail and Shopping Center Industry”, held within the real estate conference “Future Development”.
– Innovative shopping centers will have to keep up with the changes, and the change will be driven from three directions. Traditional shopping is increasingly replaced by the “sale of experience” at shopping centers. They can't compete with Alibaba or Amazon and that is why shopping centers feature more and more movie theaters, ice skate rinks and entertainment in the widest possible sense of the term. They also need to embrace technology, which can lead to multiple benefits. They can, for example, contact consumers before the go to the shopping center, while they're there and when they leave – said Milos Babic, CFO of Novaston.
He added that the third direction was the changing of the very format of properties in the architectural and spatial sense.
– Today, the ratio between common and leasing areas is 50:50, whereas it used to be 30:70 – Babic emphasized.
There is a trend of building shopping centers and retail parks in Serbia, and smaller towns are growing more interesting too.
– The increase in the number of shopping centers and retail parks is certainly a positive trend, but the only thing that can be seen as negative from the aspect of investors is that the rent prices will drop – said Milica Mitrovic on behalf of Poseidon Group.
She added that up till five years before there had been no retail parks in Serbia and that there were 25 at the moment and pointed out that the state was pretty well “covered” with them.
The situation in Croatia is similar.
– In Croatia, the market is saturated, there are as many shopping centers as there needs to be, maybe even a little more – said Filip Vucagic of Colliers International, who added that it was noticeable that consumers spend less and less through traditional shopping in Croatia as well.
The speakers also agreed that online purchase had become a reality in the area, but that, despite its numerous advantages, it would not have a considerable impact on shopping centers and retail parks in the foreseeable future.