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View of Oxford Street on November 10, 2015 in London.

10 January 2018 Comments (0) Other, Real Estate

The large shopping streets, an alternative to the declining shopping centres?

As shopping centres run out of steam, “iconic” shopping streets like Oxford Street in London remain a magnet for shoppers, according to a study by BNP Paribas Real Estate.

A rare event on the Belgian market: three major shopping centres are currently up for sale. Rive Gauche in Charleroi (Saint-Lambert development, 39,000 m2), Bruxsel Docks (Equilis, 44,000 m2) near the canal and Woluwe Shopping (two property certificates and AG Real Estate, 45,000 m2) in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert. Rive Gauche and Bruxsel Docks, both opened in 2017, still have to “prove themselves” before attracting a buyer. Unlike on Oxford Street, the Champs-Élysées, Via dei Condotti, or Passeig de Gracia …

Are these big European shopping streets an alternative to shopping centres? They have the wind in their sales, there’s no doubt about it. For the first time, BNP Paribas Real Estate has published a pan-European survey based on pedestrian traffic on the shopping streets of 23 cities, including Brussels. A study conducted last summer, on a Saturday afternoon, between 2pm and 4pm.

Rue Neuve, Brussels © Mstyslav Chernov

Not surprisingly, Oxford Street in London attracts the most people: 13,500 pedestrians per hour. In the Top 5 also figure Kaufingerstrasse in Munich (12,832), Calle de Preciados in Madrid (10,292), Zeil in Frankfurt (10,280) and the Champs-Elysées in Paris (10,277). The only Belgian thoroughfare to make the Top 30 is Rue Neuve in Brussels, with 6,773 pedestrians per hour. It glistens modestly in 29th position.

So where lies the pulling power of these large shopping streets? The proximity of public transport, urban renewal and rising tourism, the study says. Pedestrian traffic remains mainly dependent on the structure of city centres. “When cities have a single ‘core shopping district” covering 2 to 3 main streets, pedestrian traffic is naturally higher (Munich, Dublin, Prague, Zurich and Scandinavian cities, for example), the authors of the study explain. On the other hand, because of their vast geographical extents, London, Berlin and Paris do not have a single core shopping district, but rather several zones.” Thus these metropolises are reaching record levels in their two famous streets, while a more “modest” traffic – nevertheless registering good performances for traders – is being achieved in the remaining cores.

With regard to the “luxury only” streets, the Via dei Condotti in Rome leads with 6,545 pedestrians per hour, ahead of Old Bond Street in London (5,564 p / h) and Via del Babuino (5,003 p / h) which leads to the Piazza di Spagna in Rome. According to the study, these streets owe their success to the fact that they are “famous” pedestrian areas to where many tourists flock. Faced with the growth of e-commerce, several solutions present themselves to property companies: renovating or expanding the existing stock, introducing ground-breaking “open” shopping centre concepts, such as old marketplaces, or switching to the big city centres.

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