Modern shopping centres have been a reality in Slovakia for more than 21 years. Bratislava, the city with the highest purchase power in the country, has the biggest concentration of shopping centres. People in the capital visit them not only to shop but also for entertainment and relaxation.
“For most Bratislavans, a visit to the shopping centre does not end with shopping; they want to meet with friends, relax or have fun,” Eva Sadovská, an analyst with Wood & Company, wrote in response to the results of a survey conducted by companies Datamar and Mnforce in September.
The Bratislava region reports the highest number of shopping centres and retail parks. Their total acreage of 756,000 m2 makes up 32 percent of the total area of this retail real estate in Slovakia, based on the latest data of CBRE Research. While modern shopping centres dominate Bratislava, retail parks are more often located in smaller towns.
Not only shopping but also entertainment
In recent years, shopping centres have not only become places to shop, but also places of entertainment, culture, relaxation, meetings and culinary experiences, all under one roof. Their attractiveness depends on their locality, accessibility, whether they neighbour office premises as well as what kinds of shops and services they offer.
“A colourful mixture with an appropriate impact on free-time activities has become much more important than any time before,” Sadovská wrote.
The latest survey of Datamar and Mnforce, called Consumer Mood: Impact of Covid-19, confirms that the scope of entertainment has been playing a key role in shopping centres. Its results indicate that 78 percent of citizens of Bratislava and its vicinity visit shopping centres to shop for groceries or other goods. As much as 43 percent go to shopping centres to eat at its restaurants or fast food outlets while 39 percent go to the cinema or a cultural, social, or sports event in the centres. Another 27 percent perceive shopping centres as a place to meet with friends and family while 18 percent of respondents go to shopping centres regularly to get a manicure or visit a hair salon or dry cleaner.
These statistics show that more consumers visit shopping centres for entertainment in Bratislava than in Prague. In the Czech capital, the share of the respondents visiting shopping centres to shop for groceries and other goods is as high as 90 percent.
Future of shopping centres
The future of shopping centres greatly depends on their ability to attract not only passers-by but also visitors for whom the centre itself is a destination.
“The function of the shopping centre as a place to spend free time for gastronomy, the cinema or wellness will be further developed and strengthened in the future,” Sadovská wrote. “All this, together with the willingness to innovate, makes such shopping centres 'crisis resistant' at the same time.”