European shopping centre development completions in the first six months of 2016 totalled 1.3 million square meters (sq m) with a further 9.4 million sq m of new retail space under construction, according to the latest research from global property advisor CBRE.

The amount of new shopping centre space completed across Europe declined in H1 2016 by 4% year-on-year to 1.30 million sq m, with construction levels for new schemes also seeing a fall of 21% year-on-year in 2016. However, shopping centre extensions under construction made up 21% of all new developments in the first half of 2016, an increase of approximately 50% year-on-year.

Shopping centre development activity has largely remained concentrated in Eastern European markets, with Russia accounting for 2.64 million sq m (28%) of total space under construction followed by Turkey with 2.22 million sq m (14%) of completed schemes in the first half of 2016. In Turkey, no new developments were announced in Istanbul due to the level of market saturation, but redevelopments may potentially increase.

The UK shopping centre pipeline of space under construction has increased to 441,400 sq m, a 75% increase on H1 2015, half of which are extensions on existing centres, notably the Westfield London Shopping Centre extension and the new Victoria Gate Shopping Centre in Leeds. Approximately 28 developments are expected to complete by the end of 2017. The UK’s decision to leave the European Union may result in a reduction in the number of future shopping centre developments due to a drop in consumer confidence and changes to regulations affecting property; but anything currently under construction is likely to still continue as planned with retailer demand for space remaining strong. The value of the Pound relative to other currencies such as the Dollar and Euro is also likely to make UK investment opportunities particularly attractive to overseas investors.

In the Ukraine there is 603,000 sq m of space currently under construction, which is 41% of the existing stock. The high pipeline volume, notably in Kyiv, is due to an improvement of economic fundamentals after an economic downturn in 2014 and 2015 that halted construction. Poland has a total of 524,000 sq m of new space under construction, in Warsaw there are still underdeveloped areas. In Poland a new law on retail sales tax may be introduced in September 2016, which may decrease profitably for the retail sector and lead to consolidation.

In the Nordics, Finland has the largest pipeline of space under construction, approximately 465,000 sq m, 22% of existing space.

In Western Europe extensions and refurbishments to existing schemes comprise around a quarter of total construction due to lack of supply. France has 440,700 sq m, Italy has 425,700 sq m and Germany currently has 126,800 sq m.

The level of shopping centre completions and space in emerging markets such as Turkey and Russia have seen a slowdown in the first half of 2016, especially in Russia where development levels had peaked in 2014 and 2015, due to investor demand from oil revenue. However, we are seeing a trend towards extensions and refurbishments to existing centres, in particular in the UK, which will account for over 20% of new shopping centre completions in the next few years.
Andrew Phipps, Head of UK and EMEA Retail Research, CBRE EMEA