Shopping Centers Today International

FEB 2016

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

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Page 46 of 59

down by 3.3 percent in the first nine months of 2015, versus the comparable period in 2014. Few foreign retailers are coming these days, and Brazilís mall industry has been grappling with a va- cancy problem since the second half of 2013, owing to inexperi- enced developers building ill-ad- vised projects, critics say. The 38 malls that opened between 2013 and 2014 had an average vacancy rate of 40 percent as of July 2015, according to a report by Ibope Inteligência, a market research firm. "The great challenge in 2016 is to manage vacancy," said Márcia Sola, executive director of Ibope Inteligênciaís Brazil branch. "All shopping centers are under pressure to hold retail- ers during the recession." But some are hoping that things will improve for Argen- tina, which in November elected a pro-business and open-market president. "This will be particu- larly beneficial to retail, as the Ar- gentine consumer is among the most fashion-conscious in the world," said Harris. "It should also attract global property inves- tors, who have stayed clear of Ar- gentina for the past 12 years. Do- mestic developers will be more confident about increasing their development activities." The star performer right now, though, is Mexico, where nearly 40 shopping centers are slated to open this year, amounting to a combined 1 million square meters (nearly 11 mil- lion square feet) of space. The economy expanded by some 2.5 percent during the first nine months of last year, while same-store sales rose by 6.2 percent, ac- cording to retail industry data. "This year will be one of high growth," said Juan Ignacio Rodríguez, planning direc- tor and partner at MAC Arquitectos Consultores, a Mexico City–based ar- chitectural and research firm. Rodríguez points to the investment funds raised through the Fibras (Mexicoís REITS), CKDs (development capital certificates) and private funds. "The arrival of im- portant retail brands is also generating demand for new space," he said. These chains are finding Mexico to be an at- tractive market now, thanks to fewer import restrictions and lower import tariffs, says Rodríguez. "Retailers like H&M, Forever 21, Lefties and Offcorss have entered the market demanding new space since the shopping centers in main cities are full," he said. Mexicoís Gicsa Group will open two regional malls this year, according to Samuel Jalife, the companyís retail gen- eral director. "The year is expected to be one of high consumption," said Jalife, "thanks to [favorable] economic indica- tors, currency exchange and consumer confidence." S C T F e b r u a r y 2 0 1 6 / S C T 47 D e v e l o p e r C i m e n t o o p e n e D t H e $ 2 0 0 m i l l i o n F o n t a n a r , o u t s i D e B o g o t á , C o l o m B i a , i n l a t e 2 0 1 5 . t H e F i r m w i l l s t a r t a n e w C e n t e r t H i s y e a r i n m e D e l l í n .

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