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No big malls from 2012

The act that would ban major shopping mall development projects could be passed by the end of this year, Gábor Bányai, member of the Parliament’s sustainable development committee told political daily Magyar Nemzet.

The act placing moratorium on shopping mall and hypermarket developments will only allow building shopping malls no bigger than 400 square meters (sqm) in towns with fewer than 100,000 inhabitants, while in towns with larger populations the size of shopping malls built after 2012 could not exceed 800 sqm.

The bill submitted by a member of the opposition LMP party aims to increase the turnover of smaller shops. The motion received support from the governing Fidesz side as well. In order to attract customers to smaller shops, and to change customer habits Bányai agrees with LMP that a campaign should be organized.

The beneficiaries of the new regulation could be two leading Hungarian retail chains, CBA and Coop, as their shop sizes generally conform to the proposed size constraints, opposed to the larger outlets operated by their foreign competitors.

Many are worried though that a bill placing moratorium on shopping mall developments will slow down the recovery of the retail sector and the building industry.

There are 11 shopping malls to be handed over this year, while next year construction works will finish on 14 shopping malls. The bill will not apply to ongoing projects and development works.