BusinessThursday 04 May 2017

Brasov - a magnet for retail

2018 seems to be a year of interest for shopping lovers in Brașov: two major developers have announced the opening of two shopping malls in the Transylvanian city

Coresi - Brasov

Shopping malls are still fashionable in Romania, being popular among both among developers and among consumers. Major cities in Romania house multiple such spaces each, Bucharest leading the charts in this regard with no less than 22 functioning malls at this time. The province is generally limited to one, two or three large shopping malls, but things do not seem to stop here.            

In this regard, the main attraction in the near future seems to be Brașov, an important municipality in Romania, but a city that is still victim to the absence of an international airport in its vicinity, despite the tremendous potential it presents in terms of tourism (skiing slopes, picturesque landscapes and major tourist attractions both in the city and around it).   


As such, aside from the city's significant population (about 280 000 inhabitants), there are many tourists visiting the region both in the winter and in the summer. As a result, Brașov has significant potential, especially from a commercial point of view and therefore two major investors, AFI Europe and Immofinanz, have already announced their intention to open new shopping malls in the city. The two large-scale projects will come to complement the already existing Coresi shopping center, developed by another investor, Immochan.

Obviously, the new projects want to compete with existing mall, so Immofinanz proposes an alternative, namely a retailing concept already tested in other Central and East European countries. Its name is Shop Shop, and it has been designed specifically for the Balkan region, where there are many small and medium-sized cities. From this point of view, Brașov would be the perfect candidate for receiving Shop Shop, since purchasing power of local residents is reasonably high, while the brand would offer consumers a greater diversification and internationalization in terms of products.


On the other hand, AFI does not plan to introduce anything new, it simply wants to compete with the existing shopping center, anticipating Brașov’s ability to effortlessly be able to sustain two large shopping malls. However, the completion date for AFI’s project was postponed for 2018, while Immofinanz’s SHOP SHOP is likely to be completed by the end of 2017. 

Thus, it remains to be seen how this competition will end, especially since experts in the field argue that three malls would be a bit much for a town like Brașov. Still, one should never underestimate Romania’s affinity for shopping, as the mall is still a concept widely embraced in the country, being viewed as the ultimate place for products, services and entertainment.  


Claudiu Bolcu




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