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Global shopping centre development at ‘all time high’

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City Mall shopping centre. Photograph: Hin Pisei/Phnom Penh Post

A new report from global property company CBRE says that the construction of shopping centres worldwide is continuing to grow, with 70 per cent of all planned construction happening in Asia.

Growing middle class populations and retailer expansion are the chief drivers of the growth, leading to “unprecedented levels of construction, particularly in Asia,” the company says.

Chinese cities currently dominate shopping centre construction activity. In the 180 cities around the world analysed by CBRE, exactly half of all the shopping centre space under construction is in China.

Outside China, the most active markets are Abu Dhabi, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, New Delhi and Sao Paulo.

Emerging markets such as China, Turkey, and India are considerably more active than the more mature markets of Western Europe and North America. In 2011, new shopping centres opened in 35 per cent of the cities covered in the survey, of which 50 were in emerging markets. In contrast, only five cities in western Europe saw the opening of a new centre last year.

Sebastian Skiff, the Executive Director of CBRE Retail Asia said “Overall, retailers have shifted their focus to exploring new markets and new opportunities in which they are able to grow their businesses and carry out cross-border expansion initiatives. This strategic growth is contributing to the escalation of high quality retail space in emerging markets, such as China, Malaysia and Vietnam. These markets are seeing an influx of retailers and outside interest which consequently fuels the demand for new developments.”

David George, Country Manager of CBRE Cambodia said “there are a number of shopping centres planned for Phnom Penh including Aeon and Parkson, who have already started working on site. It is anticipated that both of these centres will open in 2014.”

However, the company warns that the retail landscape globally is changing, with rapid growth in online retailing. While it is impossible to gauge its impact on shopping centre development over the next 10 years, it is an increasingly important element of many firms’ retail strategies.

CBRE says “In emerging markets, shiny new shopping centres are likely to hold the attention of shoppers for some time to come,” but the rapid growth in online retailing suggests that e-commerce may soon be shaping the demand for new retail space.

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