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SES EUROPARK Weihnachtsshopping credit: wildbild
SES EUROPARK christmas shopping credit: wildbild


European retail sales have declined in the month of October as consumers struggle with the increased cost of living. However, the real effect will become the new reality in 2023. During Christmas season, shopping places such as the shopping centers managed by the Austrian SES have performed very good. One reason is the focus on a positive customer experience.

Figures released by EUROSTAT at the beginning of December have shown that the volume of retail trade in the Eurozone fell by 1.8% in October, the largest drop this year. Much of that decline was driven by a drop in food and tobacco sales (down 1.5%) and non-food products (down 2.1%). Some countries were hit harder than others: Retail sales fell 4.6% in Austria, and a respective 2.8% and 2.7% in Germany and France. A few countries saw their sales increase, such as Luxembourg (up 2.6%) and Portugal (an increase of 0.5%).

Nevertheless, reports by EY and Signifyd have argued that the real effect of inflation and the surge in energy prices will become a reality in 2023. 8 out of 10 consumers say that they will reduce their purchases starting from 2023 onwards. Although an effect on retailers this Christmas season can already be seen, the numbers are a lot better than predicted such as the performance of the Austrian SES Shopping Center shows.

SES: Customer Experience Is the Key to Customer Retention

For the third weekend in advent, SES reported over a million visitors in their Austrian centers. Traditionally, the third weekend in advent is in general an important benchmark for retailers. This year was special in Austria since there was a public holiday with special opening hours for retailers right before the weekend.

This has helped SES, its 18 shopping destinations in Austria, and their retailers to extend the general shopping experience. Additionally, besides the opening hours, many visitors were attracted by special discounts available this weekend. A key to a positive customer experience that SES focus on in all of their centers is a good connection to public transport. Depending on the location, up to 50 percent of customers come to the centers by public transport, on foot, or by bike to do their shopping.