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FEATURES


Airports and Railway Stations Shopping centers, factory outlets and retail parks


represent the main shopping destinations in Italy. Their total sales (grocery excluded) account for €33.3 billion or 2.1% of the national GDP.13 However, retailers are also increasingly expanding in unconventional places such as airports and rail stations. The largest retail space in an Italian airport is at the


Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, or Rome Fiumicino Airport. Its nearly 25,000 sq m of GLA consists of 140 units and 30 restaurants. In 2012, shops at the airport— the nation’s largest—were visited by 41 million passengers, while recording €25 million in cumulative purchases.14 The largest retail space in an Italian railway station,


Milan’s Centrale, comprises 80 shops and restaurants. It receives approximately 120 million passengers on an annual basis.15


Evolution of e-Commerce Despite the ongoing economic crisis, Italian consumers


are finding alternative ways to maximize time and money. In addition to traditional stores, they are increasingly shopping online, though mainly within certain merchandising categories. According to Casaleggio Associati,16 the amount of


online retail sales in 2012 was €21.1 billion, up 12% from 2011. However, that increase was smaller than the growth rates registered in 2011 or in the previous years. (See Chart 6-1.) This is clearly a sign that online sales, not just traditional retail sales, are influenced by the overall macroeconomic environment. Furthermore, Italian online sales are strongly influenced


by purchases done for traveling and gambling, accounting for 73.5% of total online retail sales, according to Casaleggio Associati. That statistic demonstrates that Italians still prefer to shop in traditional stores for some retail items such as fashion apparel, grocery, home furnishing and health/personal care.


What Lies Ahead During the past 10 years, Italy witnessed an increasing


presence of medium- and large-sized shopping centers, lifting its commercial density closer to the European average. Still, most existing shopping centers tend to be smaller, anchored by a grocery store and lacking any sort of leisure component, including modern food courts. Italy shows potential for additional shopping centers,


Source: Casaleggio Associati


especially in its more affluent central region. However, the current adverse macroeconomic environment has limited the pipeline of new projects. Large and very large centers are still being constructed by national and international developers, especially in the North, which has attracted the interest of institutional investors. The economic crisis that began during 2008 has


hampered Italian purchasing power and caused a steep decline in consumer confidence. The results of this negative environment are visible in the 2012 shopping- center sales and footfall indexes elaborated by the CNCC and Experian Footfall, with overall sales decreasing by 12%. Nevertheless, investors are reinventing their assets.


Expansions and/or refurbishments will continue to strengthen or create new competitive advantages through adding leisure activities, creating or enhancing food courts, downsizing underperforming hypermarkets, and incorporating new brands or category killers that are entering or expanding in the Italian market. Even amid the current crisis, new formats such as retail


parks, factory outlets, airports and railway stations’ galleries all provide consumers with the best value in the most convenient destinations. Digitization provides always connected, increasingly


savvy consumers with tools to investigate products and services before purchases. The challenge for the industry is to leverage these new tools and to create the most convenient and exciting destination for consumers to shop in the mall.


13 “Shopping Centres, Retail Parks and Factory Outlets—Italy 2012,” UrbiStat, retrieved August 2, 2013. 14 Data from Aeroporti di Roma, retrieved August 2, 2013. 15 Data from GrandiStazioni, retrieved August 2, 2013. 16 Casaleggio Associati, “E-commerce in Italia 2013 – I trend dell’e-commerce e le opportunità del mobile.”


INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF SHOPPING CENTERS 32 6 RETAIL PROPERTY INSIGHTS VOL. 20, NO. 2, 2013 Chart 6-1 E-Commerce Sales in Italy, 2004-2012


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