The shopping center sector in Italy

IGD is one of the main players in Italy’s retail real estate sector: it develops and manages shopping centers throughout Italy.

 

In Italy there were 1,254 retail hubs1 at 31 December 2018; 1,021 of which shopping centers covering a GLA of more than 15,900,000 m2 (all shopping centers included in this calculation have a GLA of more than 5,000 m2 and at least 7 units).

*Subcontract employees refer to all the people that work within the supply chain and that guarantee the daily functioning of the structures, by providing services to help run the Shopping Center (for example cleaning and security) and marketing services (communication and event organisation).

**date since the opening or the last restyling

 

The small/mid-size shopping centers (with a GLA of less than 40,000 m2), which typically have strong ties with the local community, accounts for 96% of all the shopping centers in Italy.  The prevalence of this type of center reflects demographic distribution in Italy where a large part of the population lives in the numerous mid-size cities.

IGD’s portfolio fits well in this context as most of its portfolio is comprised of midsize centers located just on the outskirts of cities; the choice was, in fact, made to focus on mid/large size centers with a dominant position2 in their reference catchment areas: at 31 December 2018 more than 75% of the market value of the malls and hypermarkets that IGD has in Italy have a dominant position in their catchment areas.

The shopping center market in Italy is also very fragmented, with few operators that hold significant market shares3; currently IGD has a market share of 4% in terms of GLA (with a total GLA of around 665,000 m2 at 31 December 2018) and is the sector’s main Italian player.

 

1 Retail hubs include shopping centers, retail parks, leisure centers and factory outlets

2 Dominant assets: assets that are points of reference for consumers looking for an appealing and quality offer in their respective catchment areas 

3 No operators controls more than 10% of the market

The importance of the sector for the retail consumption

This sector has an important role in Italian consumption: in 2018 around 17%4 of total retail sales in Italy were made inside shopping centers.

Over the last 10 years the sector has experienced significant growth; as is shown in the following chart, sizeable investments were made above all in 2014 and in the two years period 2016-2017.

Italian retail real estate investments 2008-2018 (mn euro)

Source: CBRE

Despite the sector’s growth, the number of shopping centers per inhabitant in Italy is still lower than in the rest of the western countries, coming at around 263 m2/1,000 inhabitants. In the United States, for example, the density reaches 2,200 m2/1,000 inhabitants, namely 10 times higher than in Italy. Looking at the rest of the European countries, where the shopping center density is not as high as in the US, the Italian density is still less than in several different countries such as, for example, France which has a density of around 350 m2/1,000 in habitants and the United Kingdom where the density comes in at around 430 m2.

This difference, particularly with respect to the American market, is very significant when we are talking about e-commerce. Recently the rise of e-commerce is seen as the main cause of the difficult period American retail, particularly shopping centers, is experiencing and this triggered a climate of uncertainty in the Italian retail world, as well.  As is clear from the density figures, the two markets are, however, hard to compare as the stock of shopping centers in the US is considerably higher than in Italy.

 

4 Internal estimates on CNCC and Politecnico of Milan data

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IGD and the e-commerce

Here at IGD we are also convinced that the growing penetration of e-commerce should not be seen only as a threat to traditional retail, but as an opportunity: online and traditional shopping can co-exist if integrated.  This is why our strategy for the next few years will be focused on, among other things,  omnichannel concepts, namely connecting and integrating the offline and online buying experience as much as possible.

Furthermore, in this challenging and continuously changing environment, we believe the role of the shopping center is evolving, no longer just a place for shopping, but a meeting place and for this reason finding ways to engage and personalize the relationship with our visitors will be of fundamental importance. Our shopping centers will be increasingly more experience and social oriented.

Read more about our strategy