1.1 Definition and presentation
The shopping center is a group of signs of gallery gathered within a shopping mall. First appearing in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century, shopping centres have developed rapidly throughout the world. In Belgium and in Europe, the growth of shopping centres, in size as well as in number, is now faced with the surge of e-commerce which reduces its margins and increases its vacancy rate.
However, shopping centre operators are adapting to the new shopping habits of consumers. In Belgium, the customer base is increasingly young and male. In a small country, the three largest shopping centres are located in Wijnegem, Louvain-la-Neuve and Brussels.
A shopping centre is a real estate complex comprising various cells containing retail outlets, restaurants and technical premises, connected by pedestrian traffic areas, all of which are usually housed under the same roof. It encompasses built and unbuilt spaces that constitute a legal entity managed by a company that issues commercial leases.
Since 2000, nearly 5 million square meters of retail space have been created each year worldwide. However, the overall structure of shopping centres and the services they offer will change in the future. It is the millennials who will partly drive this change in consumption through their habits.
In Belgium, there will be 10% less retail space rented in 2020 than in 2019, and a decrease in the number of transactions of -16%. Shopping centres seem to be in the early stages of a difficult period, which has been accentuated by the health crisis, and which is forcing shopping centres to reinvent themselves and diversify into new activities to continue to attract customers.
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