The number of shopping centres outside Bucharest has doubled this year from 9 to 18, and is expected to double again next year, as another 15 or 16 mall-type projects are scheduled for delivery outside Bucharest in 2008.
In comparison, only four shopping centres were delivered elsewhere in Romania last year: in Sibiu, Ramnicu-Valcea, Constanta and Brasov.
The impact of these malls, which put around 250,000 new retail spaces on the market, will affect both the consumption habits of Romanians and the labour market.
According to these figures, the number of mall visitors has increased by nearly 200,000 people a day. In addition, the malls opened this year total around 1,600 shops, which employ about 15,000 people, taking into account a 150 square metre surface area per store. With a significant number of retail spaces opening in malls, the business of the small street front shops could be affected.
The largest network of shopping centres completed so far on the market is held by Iasi-based businessman Iulian Dascalu, who finished the third Iulius-branded mall in Cluj-Napoca this year.
Completed projects - eight in total, became more concentrated towards the end of the year, after only one mall was delivered in the first half (Euromall Pitesti). “November and December are the best months for shopping, as retailers usually see their business double or even triple at this time of the year,” Moraru explains.
Some cities like Bacau and Pitesti witnessed the launch of their first ever malls (Arena Mall and Euromall), whilst in cities like Brasov and Iasi the latest projects delivered - Unirea Shopping Center and Felicia Shopping City, became the third players on their respective markets. On the other hand, while cities like Galati and Craiova still have no large shopping centres available, Cluj-Napoca and Targu Mures both saw two projects delivered this year - Iulius Mall and Polus Center and European Retail Park and Mures Mall respectively.
The end of the year has not seen any new shopping centres delivered onto the Bucharest market, although already established malls (Bucuresti Mall and Plaza Romania) conducted expansion projects. Developers have blueprints and shopping centre models on their desks that will help take this market to around 100 such centres over the next few years, and intend to cover all the big cities in Romania.