New Decathlon stores in Argo’s shopping centers

Bucharest, October 2013 – Decathlon, Europe’s largest sporting goods retailer, will open new stores within the shopping centers owned by Argo Real Estate Opportunities Fund (ARGO) – in Shopping City Sibiu and in Shopping City Suceava. ARGO is one of the largest owners of retail parks in Romania, owning 4 commercial parks in Sibiu, Suceava, Iasi and Oradea.

“The 12th Decathlon store in Romanian will open within Shopping City Sibiu, later this year. As regards to Shopping City Suceava accommodating the store will require relocations of existing tenants and remodeling of the mall, so the works may take a while”said Graham Kilbane, COO ARGO. In Era Shopping Park Iasi (another retail park owned by ARGO) – Decathlon has already a self-contained unit.

Decathlon is a French company, present in 15 countries with over 400 stores; the brand belongs to Mulliez family, which also owns Auchan hypermarkets, Kiabi stores and DIY Leroy Merlin. Decathlon entered the Romanian market in 2009; through the two new stores in Sibiu and Suceava, Decathlon is strengthening its position on the local market by reaching 13 units.

“The studies show that the new Decathlon stores will receive an enthusiastic “welcome” from the customers in those cities and we expect that the new locations will generate strong traffic increases in both centres”,said Graham Kilbane.

The occupancy rate of the 80.000 sqm Shopping City Sibiu, the largest retail park in ARGO’s portfolio will increase to 96% following the opening of Decathlon. The unit will have 2,600 sqm retail surface, offer more than 15.000 items for over 50 sports; besides that, it will offer a free access outdoor playground which will include tennis, badminton and basketball courts amongst other attractions. Dechatlon will complete the existing tenant mix which includes anchors such as Carrefour, Real, H&M,C &A, Baumax, Altex, Mobexpert , etc.

After launching the new Decathlon store, Shopping City Suceava (47,000 sqm GLA) will secure an occupancy rate of cca 99%. The new Decathlon store is set up to have 1,600 sqm, so it’s announced to be the largest sport goods store in the region, providing a multipurpose outdoor court for all the sports enthusiasts. The unit will enrich a well established tenant mix with anchors such as Carrefour, Media Galaxy ,Mobexpert, Baumax, New Yorker,Deichman, Takko Fashion, etc

In Era Shopping Park Iasi, Decathlon opened in 2010 one of the largest units in Romania: the store has an area of ​​3,300 sqm for retail and an additional 2,000 sqm of sport courts, where sports lovers can play tennis, football, badminton, table tennis for free.

The Decathlon offer in ARGO’s shopping centers comprises private brands and international well known brands of sporting equipment.
There are sports for which only Decathlon can offer products at mass market price (such as horse riding, etc.). Decathlon products promise quality at competitive prices and have 2 year warranty.

Distinctively for Decathlon is the range of additional services offered for customers such as repair and maintenance of ski equipment, bikes, tennis racquets, fitness etc.

A new wave of commercial developments – no sooner than 2015

Shopping centers’ market:

A new wave of commercial developments – no sooner than 2015

Bucharest, December 18, 2013 –
“The interest of investors to develop new commercial real estate projects in Eastern Europe will remain at a low level in 2014 , because on one hand, the region is still perceived to have close ties to financial risk areas such as Cyprus and Greece , and on the other hand, Western Europe, the U.S. and emerging Asia will continue to attract most of the availability of expansion. Regarding Romania , 2015 could be the nearest horizon when investors only could begin to consider a new wave of commercial development if economic forecasts come true until then , “said Graham Kilbane , COO Argo Real Estate Opportunities Fund ( ARGO ), one of the largest owners of retail parks in Romania

Regarding Romania , there are other important criteria discouraging new development in the near future – lower retail sales and respectively difficulties in financing. Thus, after the first 10 months of 2013 , retail businesses (except of motor vehicles and motorcycles) registers a decrease from the same period in 2012, both as gross series and as series adjusted by number of working days and seasonality , by 0.3 % and 0.1 % .
In late October 2013 , according to statistics of the National Bank of Romania , corporate loans totaled euro 26.65 billion compared to 28.32 billion euros in October 2012. Meanwhile, a recent NBR study on companies’ access to finance during April to September 2013, shows that 47 % of the surveyed companies believe that the very high interest rates and fees are the main obstacle to access to finance , the second being the collateral requirements.
The retail parks developments depends also on anchor tenants’ strategy, especially hypermarkets and DIY stores . As a general rule, a large area hypermarket covers with at least 50,000 inhabitants. The challenge for the developing new retail parks is not so much the price of land , as in the potential of each city and the existing competition. Generally, each existing retail park has secured a loyal public; in order to dismantle a part of it, a new competitor would need increased investments, new brands and lower product prices, which are very hard to achieve as 80-90% of the retailers are the same in all commercial centers.
“We still witness a decline in retail sales, so that an investor does not have many reasons to buy property in this area. Many lands outside cities or former factories in cities that were to be converted into shopping centers still looking for buyers . Considering all these aspects we expect a period of 2-3 years of existing retail parks will strengthen and we see very few openings we shared conclusion including our partners at DTZ. Retailers having classical formats for the retail parks will focus to optimize business and will be further interested in expanding in good spaces in the locations in which they are not present yet. In conclusion, year 2014 will consolidate the local retail real estate market, and only in 2015-2016 we expect to see good perspective for announcing a significant number of new further developments (made by local or foreign investors), depending on the purchase power and the economical trend “said Graham Kilbane .

ARGO shopping center performance – top

Bucharest , September 17- Argo Real Estate Opportunities Fund ( ARGO ), one of the largest owners of shopping centers in Romania , with 4 locations held in Iasi , Oradea , Sibiu and Suceava (having a total GLA of 271,000 square meters ) has done a top of its business parks’ performances .
Shopping City Sibiu is the property of the highest value, respectively Euro 119 million, followed by Era Shopping Park Oradea (77.2 million) , Era Shopping Park Iasi (75.9 million) and Shopping City Suceava 64.6 million.

In ARGO’s network, Shopping City Suceava was the location most active in terms of marketing actions organized at the center, with 91 events and promotions in January-August , with peaks of activity in April and May ; from the organized actions, the majority were cultural and CSR ( Corporate Social Responsibility ) and sales campaigns ( 17).
Era Shopping Park Iasi has the highest occupancy rate, with 97 % rent surface; Shopping City Suceava has an occupancy rate of 96% , Shopping City Sibiu of 93%, and Era Shopping Oradea Park with about 75% currently – expected to increase to 92% by the end of the year. ” Era Shopping Park Oradea is going through a stage of development that brings new retail formats and will freshen the mix of retailers; the traffic of buyers rose 20 % in the last year, the largest increase of this kind in our centers ; in the near future , we will announce new lease contracts, “said Graham Kilbane , COO ARGO .

Compared to other centers owned by ARGO Shopping Center Sibiu-, the third largest retail park in Romania ( 80,000 sqm) – won the largest rental income in the first semester October 2012 – March 2013 , ie 4.8 million euro net (VAT ); the second was Era Shopping Park Iasi , with 2.8 million net , followed by Shopping City Suceava with EUR 2.55 million net and Era Shopping Park Oradea with 1.7 million.
Of all ARGO locations, the one in Oradea has the largest area dedicated to interior design and furniture – Home Center, with more than 15,000 square meters, an area that includes Mobexpert Elvila , Lem ‘s, Naturlich , Bricostore , and other stores. ARGO Center in Iasi climbed to second place in terms of spaces for interior design, after the last extension and new leases , reaching a total of over 8200cmp in this segment.
ARGO has in total more than 315 retailers in its centers in Romania, most being present in 2-3 or even in all four of its locations.
” Retail sales have not yet revived in Romania, so for most retailers current objectives aimed not an increase in profit, but business optimization and network extension, taking advantage of favorable market conditions in recent years , to be prepared when market will resume growth . Our centers naturally follows the same line of efficiency , respectively , growth revenue, to be prepared to benefit from favorable turn of the market that are our assets belong to, and that re launch most likely will take place in 2015 , “said Graham Kilbane .

Creșteri pe segmentul de retail din provincie: Branduri noi şi extinderi de magazine în centrele comerciale ARGO

Bucureşti, 7 august 2013 – “În perioada iulie- august, la Era Shopping Park Iaşi se inaugurează 6 locaţii ale unor branduri noi plus un magazin Rovere cu o suprafaţă mai mare, iar la Shopping City Sibiu am avut deja în această vară 3 lansări de noi magazine, alături de relocarea Zoomania într-un spaţiu extins; în centrele noastre comerciale din Suceava şi Oradea situaţia evoluează pe aceeaşi linie, într-un trend de extinderi pe segmentul de retail din provincie“, a arătat Graham Kilbane, COO Argo Real Estate Opportunities Fund (ARGO). ARGO este unul dintre cei mai mari proprietari de parcuri de retail și centre comerciale din România.

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