Shopping malls had higher sales in the second quarter than before the COVID

According to their association, shopping malls across the country had record sales in the second quarter of this year, which were 17.3 percent higher than pre-2019. Year-to-date footfall through August was 11.8 percent lower than three years ago.

While people are coming to malls less frequently, they are spending more at malls than before. This is according to the Association of Shopping Centres (ACN) index.

Sales were up 23 percent in May this year compared to the same month last year. However, malls performed well in other months, with August sales up 14.6 percent yearly.

The past two years were affected by anti-epidemic measures, so the association made a comparison with the current year.

Tomas Drtina, the managing partner at Incomind, said the third quarter looked good in terms of sales.

“When we look at the company, the situation is not as scary as in 2008 or 2009. We could manage the situation well thanks to the government’s announced capping of energy prices. Moreover, people made a lot of savings during the COVID, and we have record low unemployment,” said ACN executive chairman Jan Kubíček.

The coronavirus pandemic and related restrictions have been the biggest challenge for shopping malls since their inception, Kubíček said.

Attendance was dramatically affected by the requirement to keep their mouths and noses covered, with people making only necessary purchases.

After the measure was lifted, they quickly began returning to shopping malls. Footfall in August was 8.7 percent lower than in 2019. Kubíček added that people would likely come to the malls in smaller groups.

Shopping center occupancy is higher this year than most of the previous five years, Kubíček said.

The most crowded shopping centers are in Prague, where occupancy rates range between 97 and 98 percent.” In the pandemic period, only about five percent of tenants were forced to leave shopping centers, and the occupancy trend is coming back this year,” he said.

Kubíček further said that the biggest problem for shopping centers now is high energy prices.

However, he appreciated the government’s approach and said negotiations at the European level on pricing changes were also developing positively. He reminded that the centers are setting energy-saving strategies.

According to Drtina, the index was compiled from figures from forty shopping centers representing all regions and size categories.

There are roughly 100 shopping centers over 5,000 sqm in the country, with about 12 smaller ones. There are approximately 250 shopping parks in operation, with a dozen more under construction or being expanded, according to Cushman & Wakefield data.