In Q1 2020, approximately 50,000 sqm of modern retail space was delivered to the market in Poland. The construction of four schemes was completed: Galeria Chełm (17,500 sqm), Stop Shop Siedlce (14,100 sqm), Galeria Kupiecka in Otwock (10,000 sqm) and Vendo Park Jawor (6,700 sqm). However, due to the onset of the coronavirus epidemic, the new shopping centres have limited possibilities to serve consumers, in the same as all large retails facilities in Poland.
With the state of epidemic announced, the Health Minister has introduced a regulation banning the operation of retail schemes with a sales area of over 2,000 sqm. According to the new regulation, as of March 14, 2020, until further notice, commercial activity in these facilities is prohibited. Exceptions include grocery stores, pharmacies, laundries and financial institutions. The regulation also requires restaurants and cafes throughout the country to provide only takeaway or delivery services. As of April 1, additional restrictions ban completely the operation of hairdressing, beauty, tattooing and piercing salons, and close DIY stores at weekends until further notice. In addition, general safety rules and the number of customers allowed in stores were tightened.
Shopping centres and tenants alike are involved in initiatives that support the fight against the pandemic. Declared assistance is varied and includes financial support for hospitals (e.g. Carrefour, Ikea, Lidl, Kazar, CCC, 4F), distribution of free meals to medical staff (e.g. AmRest), purchase of SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic tests (e.g. Kaufland) and filling shortages of protective equipment for medical personnel and providing food products. The total value of funds donated is estimated in tens of millions of PLN.
In the current situation, also large food stores cooperate with charities to donate unsold food free of charge to those in need. The obligation is directly linked to the Act on Counteracting Food Waste, passed in July last year.
„The retail sector is undoubtedly one that will be very badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which will consequently initiate many changes in the future. Today, it is difficult to assess the long-term effects, both negative and positive. From a short-term perspective, we are already observing a significant increase in online shopping, with the largest ones being recorded in the food sector. For many shops, the online channel has become their only chance to do business. Some tenants, who have previously operated in regular shops only, have launched their e-commerce channel, e.g. Ziaja. Others see their chance to establish partnerships with marketplaces, which makes their sales platforms available, e.g. Media Markt and Auchan have decided to cooperate with Allegro. The zakupyuswoich.pl platform that supports local Polish businesses has been launched, which enables online shopping in small Polish grocery and multi-branch shops”, says Dominika Jędrak, Director of Research and Consultancy Services at Colliers International.
The outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic in Poland was certainly a major influence on the domestic retail market. Two other Q1 highlights are worth mentioning:
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