Romania is country of malls
In other words, on average, a new shopping centre was inaugurated every five weeks either in Bucharest, or in the big cities such as Cluj (central Romania) or Constanta (south-eastern Romania), but also in smaller towns such as Piatra Neamt, Buzau (both in eastern Romania) or Alba Iulia (central Romania). Until the explosion over 2007-2009, there were only ten shopping centres on the local market.
At present, mall owners collect rents amounting to roughly 200 million euros per year and, together with retailers, fight for a market share as good as possible for large consumption goods (food, non-food and clothing) of over 30 billion euros. “I have not even realized that so many malls were built over these years. What I can say is that, besides these 40 malls, another 40 malls will be built over the following five to seven years.
There are not sufficient malls even in Bucharest, considering other capitals in the region. For one year and a half or two, it will be more difficult, but afterwards the companies will start developing again,” says Reuven Havar, manager of the AFI Europe company, owner of the biggest shopping centre in Romania, Cotroceni Park.
Taking into account the projects under construction, but especially the plots of land bought for new projects, Havar’s bet could be a winning one.
Nevertheless, not all mall owners were successful, so that while the Turks with Anchor succeeded in recovering their money because they were the first, other projects are currently going at a loss, being struck by the dramatic downturn that was not taken into account when the business plan was drafted.