The past years have been overall unfavorable for retail property development and also brought what appears to be a key change in how people prefer to do their shopping.
The economic crisis strongly depleted families’ disposable income which was also reflected in retail volumes and the response of sellers, which was anything between store closure to downscaling and reducing the space they used in the retail facilities.
The times were challenging for the shopping centers. The established players normally did well for themselves, others had to reinvent, while yet others had to admit defeat in the face of market tendencies.
The lay of the land is also changed in that it is legally no longer allowed or at least strongly restricted to build new shopping malls, on the one hand because of the cited environmental concerns and also to support small retail that took a major blow with the arrival of shopping centers.
Outcries against the move, saying it’s going to hurt the already troubled construction industry, quickly died down for the simple reason that there may not be any need to build new malls anyway. Apparently, people have gotten tired of shopping in big-box retail.
As a result, the new trend is to build small and build more, be a convenience rather than a destination. New units are popping up everywhere and despite the setback seen on the high street, luxury retailers are very much active in the Andrássy area.
Hungarians are hopeful that the economic recovery that started last year will not only continue but also strengthen, creating more jobs, allowing debts to be paid off and leaving more money with households to spend on the needs they neglected in the stringent years of the recent past.
When that happens, the retailers will also be asking for more room to sell, which the malls will be overjoyed to provide.