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credit: Chromorange, Salamander
credit: Chromorange, Salamander

Austria’s retail sector is increasingly losing retail space

Consultants are identifying a decline in space due to increased online retailing and a general reluctance to buy on the part of consumers.

As a result of insolvencies – most recently of Kika/Leiner – and the withdrawal of companies or branch reductions, more and more retail space is being lost. According to location consultant RegioPlan, at least 550,000 sq m or just under 4 percent of the total retail space in Austria is currently up for disposal. This primarily affects smaller and medium-sized cities, where there is a more frequent thinning out of retail offerings and vacancies, Regioplan said.

At around 300,000 sq m, the majority of the vacated retail space is due to the insolvency of the furniture retail chain Kika/Leiner and the associated store closures, it said in a statement. In addition, there is space freed up by the withdrawal of Salamander, Delka, Reno, Gerry Weber, Tally Weijl, and others. Even after Forstinger’s insolvency, the reduction of part of the retail space is already certain. In addition, many smaller chain stores such as Gamestop, Cherry, Dominici are also planning to reduce sales areas in the future.

The trend towards a reduction in space has already been ongoing for about 10 years, irrespective of the pandemic and inflation. Even large companies such as H&M, C&A, and Zara have been reducing their space for years or – like Yves Rocher most recently – have withdrawn completely from Austria.

RegioPlan sees the reasons for this development neither in the aftermath of the Corona pandemic nor in inflation, but attributes it primarily to changes in customer behavior. On the one hand, customers are increasingly shopping online, while on the other, a “latent reluctance to buy” can be observed among ever broader sections of the customer base.


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