Shopping mall visits to hit 2 billion this year
The number of visits to Turkey’s more than 400 shopping centers is expected to hit 2.4 billion this year, up from 2.3 billion visits in 2018, according to Hüseyin Altaş, the president of the Council of Shopping Centers (AYD).
The combined turnover of the shopping centers are forecast to increase to 160 billion Turkish Liras (28.2 billion) in 2019 from the last year’s 130 billion liras, Altaş said.
He noted that shopping centers’ turnovers have been on the rise since January, saying that the index increased by 9.4 percent on an annual basis in January, up 18.1 percent in February.
“The turnover index exhibited 22.2 percent and 14.2 percent increases in March and April. The latest data pointed to a 23.1 percent annual increase in May,” Altaş said.
The number of visits, however, declined in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period of 2018, according to Altaş.
Altaş yet expects turnover and visits to increase during the summer and in the fall just before schools open and ahead of the New Year’s Eve.
“The upward trend in turnover will maintain its momentum,” he added.
Altaş also noted that strong tourism activity serves as a boon to the shopping center industry.
“Foreign tourists visit shopping centers during their stay in the country’s holiday destinations...We have visitors from China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran and Kuwait. Most of the shopping center visitors are from Middle Eastern countries,” he said.
Altaş also noted that at present there are 432 active shopping centers with a total leasable area of 13 million square meters in 65 of Turkey’s 81 provinces.
“Eight or 10 more shopping centers will open this year and the leasable area will climb to 13.5 million square meters.”
He warned that in some provinces shopping center investments have reached a point of saturation, thus, investments may slow.
“Investments gathered pace since the 2000s and foreign investors showed strong interest in the shopping center industry. At that time foreigners’ share in shopping center investments stood at around 30 percent,” Altaş said.
Twelve percent of all foreign direct investments Turkey attracted in recent years went into the shopping centers investments, according to Altaş.
He also stressed that Turkey’s shopping centers are going through a transformation and this process will continue.
“Those facilities do not serve solely as venues for shopping. They have become spaces where people eat and drink, enjoy arts and cinema and entertainment.”
Investors are taking this transformation into consideration when they plan new shopping centers, Altaş said.