SLOVAKIA has little concept of retail parks, which are widely known in the rest of the Europe and the United States. But that might change soon. A retail park is a unit of three or more outlets with a total area of approximately 5,000 square metres or more and parking places out front. It is different from a shopping centre, which is a building or set of buildings that contain a variety of interconnected retail outlets under one roof.
Retail parks are also much smaller than shopping centres.
Slovakia currently has 10 retail parks that total 50,000 square metres of leasable land, according to Cushman & Wakefield real estate advisors. This translates to 9.3 square metres per 1,000 inhabitants. In comparison, the Czech Republic had 117 square metres of retail park area per 1,000 inhabitants as of December 2007, while Hungary had 90 square metres and Poland had 34 square metres.
Ireland has 431 square metres of retail parks per 1,000 inhabitants, which is the highest in Europe. In Britain, it is 244 square metres.
A Cushman & Wakefield survey entitled European Retail Warehousing 2008 confirmed exactly what the above figures show: Central Europe lags behind Western Europe in the development of retail parks.
However, even in terms of Central Europe, Slovakia’s total area of retail parks is rather small, which is why it wasn't included in the survey.
“We see the reason as being the relatively small size of the [Slovak] market, which creates lower interest among developers,” said Alexander Rafajlovič, head of research, and Jiří Kristek, head of the retail park team, at Cushman & Wakefield’s office for the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
As far as interest in developing retail parks, Cushman & Wakefield estimates that Slovakia lags behind the Czech Republic by about three years.
However, the attractiveness of the Slovak market is growing as neighbouring markets are becoming saturated and Slovaks’ purchasing power is increasing. This has sparked interest in Slovakia from new retail brands and developers, Cushman & Wakefield noted.
“We can expect that it won’t take Slovakia long to catch up due to the similarity of the [Slovak and Czech] markets and the developers’ experience,” Rafajlovič and Kristek commented.
Retail parks are sprouting up mainly in regions outside the capital. Cushman & Wakefield said they are being planned in almost every town with a population of at least 20,000.
There is only one retail park development underway in Bratislava, Rafajlovič and Kristek said, because of the high price of construction plots. It is in the city’s Petržalka district.
Retail parks have opened or are opening soon in Košice, Martin, Nové Zámky, Poprad, and Rožňava. Other parks are projected in Dolný Kubín, Považská Bystrica, Prešov, Púchov, Trnava, and Žilina.
Alfa Development, Big Box, Family centre, Saller, Suxxezz, Tesco, and TK Development are among the country’s largest retail park developers.
“These companies are planning to launch several dozen projects on the Slovak market over the next three to five years,” Rafajlovič and Kristek said.
15. Sep 2008 at 0:00 | Marta Ďurianová