Demand for modern commercial properties in Bulgaria is at record highs, Colliers International reports. The total utilized area is 21 900 square meters, and thus the first half of the year marks levels not seen since 2015. The analysis includes shopping centers over 10,000 sq.m. Particularly high activity in the opening of new stores is registered in specialized trading formats such as "big box". Following in the lead are the food chains Lidl (6 stores), Billa (5), Kaufland (1); dm drugstore (6) and home furniture and home improvement company JYSK (4).
In the first half of 2019 alone, the Polish brand Pepco opened 9 sites in the country. Apart from it, other international brands - Zara Home, Fjällräven, J.Wargas, Steve Madden and Ximivogue have entered the Bulgarian market.
During the period, the supply of modern retail space marked a slight decline. The reason for this is the change of designation of part of the premises at Galaxy Trade Center from commercial to office. Thus, the volume of the offered commercial properties in Sofia for the six months became 390,660 sq.m. The period is also characterized by another record. Blvd. Vitosha has reached its highest employment levels in the last five years - 99%. At the same time, the rent of tenants on Sofia's main shopping street is only 1%. Overall, this indicator is characterized by a decrease in values from 6% to 3%.
During the period there are no significant changes in the rental levels of the retail premises under consideration, which will remain valid in the next half year. The redevelopment of vacant hypermarkets at The Mall, Bulgaria Mall, and Paradise Center resulted in higher levels of employment and enrichment of the tenant mix in them. With the completion of the process by the end of the year, these projects will achieve a better market position and offer new opportunities to expand the store chain to a number of international and local retailers. The favorable development of the modern retail space market will continue to attract investor interest in this segment.