The retailers with the biggest expansion plans for 2008 are Marks & Spencer, IKEA, Carrefour, Wal-Mart, Zara, H&M and Gap. The Central and Eastern European markets are also targeted by Pyatyorochka, Aldi, Tesco, Tchibo, and Starbucks.
Only five percent of the 250 retailers interviewed for the survey are present in Romania, which places the country in 33rd place out of 40 European countries.
The key market identified by the retailers for the most expected store openings is unsurprisingly Russia (approximately 580 stores.) Slovenia, Slovakia, France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Romania and Poland all have more than 100 expected store openings each. Three percent of the firms interviewed plan to expand on the Romanian market in the next five years, while eight percent have Romania earmarked for expansion in the next two years.
Moscow ranks first in the list, followed by St. Petersburg, Prague, Bratislava, Ljubljana and Sofia, after which comes Bucharest. The Romanian city ranked third, along with Dublin, in the same list in 2005.
Eastern Europe is deemed to offer the best business prospects by the majority of retailers (39 percent.) Central Europe follows closely behind with 36 percent.
Last year these two regions were ranked second and third, respectively, but this year they have overtaken Western and Northern Europe, pushing it into third place. The improving economic situation in CEE is having a positive effect on the retail environment and encouraging foreign investment. Retailers from the US appear to be slightly less confident about countries in CEE; instead they are likely to focus their attention on Western and Northern Europe. It is the CEE retailers themselves who greatly believe that their region offers the best business prospects over the coming years, the study reveals.
Cushman & Wakefield collaborated with International Council of Shopping Centers and with Real Estate Publishers for the research.