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Visitors and sales increase more than 20% in shopping centers in 2021

Jenny Pizarro • 25/02/2022

The real estate consultancy Cushman & Wakefield has published the data of visitors who have passed during 2021 through the 35 shopping centers and parks that the consultancy manages in Spain.

1.5 million m2 of total surface and among which reference spaces such as Islazul, Parque Corredor or Parque Principado are included.The main conclusion is that the percentage of visitors in 2021 has increased by 20% compared to 2020, and sales by 24%.

Despite the rising numbers, 2021 continued to be affected by the pandemic. During the first quarter, the performance of shopping centers suffered the restrictions implemented in the different localities linked, for example, to catering or leisure.

The visitor and sales data reflect this, being, above all, January and February, the most affected months, with an average decrease of 40% in visitors 2021 vs 2019, and 35% less in sales of 2021 vs 2019.

Visitor and sales levels similar to 2019

The second half of 2021 has allowed to accelerate the recovery of sales in shopping centers and approach pre-covid levels, standing the second half of 2021 at -7.6% compared to the same period of 2019, which is an important improvement if we compare it with the first half of the year, which ended with more than -20% compared to the same period of 2019.

If we look only at the last quarter, that figure improves to -5.6% vs the same period of 2019, which confirms the positive trend of recovery. However, some sectors of activity have already recovered the sales levels of 2019 during 2021: Home and Sports have already returned to the pre-pandemic level, exceeding those levels by 5% if we take into account only the second semester.

The pace of recovery of sales in shopping centers with respect to the pre-covid situation is faster than that of influxes, which indicates a change in consumer behavior, which in 2021 has gone to shopping centers less frequently, but with a higher average expenditure.

At the level of occupancy of centers, it has been observed during the last two years that the vacancy of premises has increased slightly, differing greatly between the characteristics of the shopping center. During 2021, the occupancy level has remained stable, with new openings in shopping centers.

The pandemic has accelerated changes in trade formats. It is worth noting the growing interest in short-term contracts of ephemeral stores or pop-ups, which together with the spaces in the common areas are becoming more important both as a source of income for the shopping centers (in the portfolio managed by C & W the income for this concept has exceeded the pre-covid levels), being a strategic leg in the positioning and dynamization of the shopping center.

Finally, the performance of commercial parks has been better than that of the centers, leaving their sales in 2021 only at -2.5% vs. 2019 and having already recovered the levels of 2019 during the second half of 2021.


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Jenny Pizarro
Jenny Pizarro

Partner, Head of Business Development • Barcelona


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