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Shopping Malls in Cyprus?

23 April 2017

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Shopping Malls in Cyprus?

Examining foreign consultants’ reports, it appears that certain brands is a must in shopping malls, helping towards their success and in addition to this, the mix of uses plays also its role. Zara appears to be the main brand for Cyprus provided it is so accompanied by other similar brands. Food stores is an attraction, but exceeding the demand that it was originally thought, as well as entertainment, such as cinemas, bowling, skating etc.

It is interesting to record the change of shopping habits of the Cypriot consumer. Initially the corner grocer has been replaced by larger shops and then the latter by the very large supermarkets. The very large supermarkets such as the ex Orphanides and others, who offer in addition to food, other products as well, are now experiencing a change. Shoppers now cannot be bothered to spend hours in a supermarket trying to find where everything is. The small supermarket (called Express) of around 1.000 sq.mts. on ground floor area, is taking over and Lidl’s success (around 1.500 sq.mts. retail) is a point in hand. Place the supermarket in the center of the plot surrounded by parking and keep the shop space on the ground. This “sudden discovery” of the change is evident in the profitability of such projects.

The relatively new (for Cyprus) idea of shopping centers (Malls) seems to have caught on after some projects were developed in the past of doubtful initial performance. Modern shopping centers (Malls) attract families who make an afternoon/day off shopping or just looking at each other, but more importantly the controlled environment and the security offered to children is a major attraction to the high (and not so) Cypriot spenders, who are non other than the teenagers (parents’ money).

Fashion outlets appear to be a must in such ventures, as is the food chains and cinemas. Considering the Nicosia (Mall of Cyprus) and Limassol (My Mall), both seem to be improving in terms of visitors numbers (including new foreign residents and the T.Cs) and spending. A recent evidence of success on sales are in both malls, where the 4 years ago rentals of €38/sq.m. jumped to €70/sq.m. (Nicosia) and this after keen competition from interested business. Of course the success of one causes the damage to another. High street shops are on a downward scale with very limited types of products to be suitable, such as car sales, home furniture and high street cafes. Looking at Nicosia’s most expensive high street (Makarios avenue) as well as that of Limassol rents are now much less than the Mall’s counterparts. A similar situation is experienced in Limassol with the Mall being considered by the locals and foreign visitors to be more attractive than Limassol’s main high street e.g. Anexartissias.

One cannot but consider how many shoppers are around. A new shopping mall is under construction in Nicosia (the largest by far in Cyprus) with approximately 80.000 sq.mts. of retail, whereas the previously mentioned are around 25.000-35.000 sq.mts. each. Do it Yourself seem to spring up everywhere, whereas “Clearance Shopping” is becoming more of a routine with most attractive prices. It is not without reason that shop keepers at Larnaca and Pafos were protesting at the time to the new Pafos (now completed) Mall and the pending ones at Larnaca (Larnaca went the other way with 3 proposed Malls!!!). It is clear to us that at the end of the day all Malls will suffer or at least those with less attractions will suffer considerably. This turn of the shoppers to the Malls has caused the reduction of rents in high street units and of course reducing or doing without the so far lucrative “goodwill” that existed.

Examining foreign consultants’ reports, it appears that certain brands is a must in shopping malls, helping towards their success and in addition to this, the mix of uses plays also its role. Zara appears to be the main brand for Cyprus provided it is so accompanied by other similar brands. Food stores is an attraction, but exceeding the demand that it was originally thought, as well as entertainment, such as cinemas, bowling, skating etc.

At the end of the day we wonder how many shoppers are around and how many are the cinema goers? If we are to take the Nicosia region and including the pending new (the largest Mall with its 80.000 sq.mts. of building – My Mall now 22.000 sq.mts.!!). there are approximately 20 cinemas, plus another 5-6 pending. In addition, the numerous supermarkets of various sizes and several Do It Yourself uses – one, then wonders where are these shoppers coming from and do they have the financial muscle that they used to a few years ago and how many small shop keepers are destined to close down within the next few years??

Changing times with some winners and loads of losers we are afraid.

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