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Istanbul, Türkiye: A special ACROSS Study Tour between tradition and innovation

The 2024 ACROSS Study Tour took us to the traditional home of Retail: Istanbul. The three-day trip welcomed more than 20 participants with the aim of learning about the Turkish way of doing retail and developing state of the art shopping centers.

A variety of shopping destinations on the European and Asian side, impressive presentations from property managers, keynote discussions with outstanding market experts and exciting retail concepts were on the program of the ACROSS Study Tour. All of this was paired with excellent networking opportunities and a not-to-be-missed experience of Turkish cuisine and F&B culture. One highlight followed another during the ACROSS Study Tour 2024 to Istanbul.

Market Overview Turkiye

Turkey is an incredibly exciting market: No doubt struggling with major macroeconomic challenges, the country is nonetheless, or precisely because of this, home to many expanding retailers and boasts innovative and successful concepts, centers and developments. The outstanding market experts Nuri Şapkacı, Managing Director at ECE Türkiye and Chairman of Turkish Council of Shopping Centers, Yurdaer Kahraman, CEO of FİBA CP, Avi Alkas, Chairman Avi Alkaş Consulting and Ortaç Özortaç, Partner at WECONSULT, explained the Turkish market’s potential and challenges.

Meet the Turkish Retailers


MADAME COCO is a great example that shows that every successful expansion strategy also needs an e-commerce plan. The company is following an ambitious plan especially for France, Spain, England, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic. Learn more about MADAME COCO here.


DeFacto describes itself as both a retail and a tech company. At the end of 2021, DeFacto opened its first new-generation store in Berlin and has expanded throughout Europe ever since. Learn more about DeFacto here.

Retail destinations of the tour


The aim of Galataport was nothing less than transforming Istanbul’s historic port into a vibrant hub for gastronomy, art, culture, and shopping through innovative engineering and architectural works. It was constructed in 2016 and opened in 2021. Galataport Istanbul stands out since it transformed 1.2 kilometers of the Bosphorus coastline — closed to access since the late 19th century — into a favorite gathering point while preserving the region’s historical and cultural heritage.

credit: ACROSS Magazine /// Rüdiger Pleus Consulting

Grand Bazaar

The home of retail: The Grand Bazaar Istanbul is a reminder that the principles of retail never change. It’s all about the customer’s wishes and the right offer. The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 61 covered streets and over 4,000 shops on a total area of 30,700 sq m, attracting between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily.

credit: ACROSS Magazine /// Rüdiger Pleus Consulting

Kanyon Shopping Mall

Opened on June 6, 2006, Kanyon Shopping Mall unites a 160-store shopping mall covering an area of 37,500 sq m. To the entire complex belongs also a 30-floor office tower, a 22-floor residential block with 180 residential apartments, theaters and parking facilities. The architecture is based on the shape of a canyon and creates a special atmosphere. One of the main focuses of the shopping center is entertainment and events for families.

credit: Kanyon Shopping Mall /// ACROSS Magazine /// Rüdiger Pleus Consulting

Akmerkez Mall

Akmerkez Mall is a great example of how an established shopping center can remain state of the art for many years and meet the changing needs of consumers every day. The Akmerkez complex covers an area of 180,000 sq m and consists of a four-story shopping area, with two towers offering a total of 31 stories of office space, and an additional tower with 24 stories of residential areas. The shopping area, offering visitors around 250 stores, is spread over a triangular area. The total rentable store area is 35,000 sq m.

credit: Akmerkez Mall /// ACROSS Magazine /// Rüdiger Pleus Consulting

Meydan Shopping Mall

Meydan Istanbul Shopping Center is having a capacity of nearly 32 million visitors on a yearly basis and is home to 160 brands in addition to plenty of restaurants, cafés and a cinema complex. The center is designed in line with modern life and the ecological environment. It attracts attention as a new generation shopping center, which utilizes daylight to its limits in indoor areas.

credit: Meydan Shopping Mall /// ACROSS Magazine /// Rüdiger Pleus Consulting

Buyaka Mall

Buyaka is a blended project comprising a 30.000 sq m GLA shopping mall, a 23-story residential tower, and three office towers. In addition, a 3600 sq m sports complex is also included.

credit: Buyaka Mall /// ACROSS Magazine /// Rüdiger Pleus Consulting

Bağdat Caddesi

Bağdat Avenue is the most important high streets on the Anatolian side of Istanbul. It runs approximately 14 km long and offers plenty of international and national brands. In a country and culture where most shopping already takes place in shopping centers, this street really is a special experience.

credit: ACROSS Magazine /// Rüdiger Pleus Consulting

Akasya Shopping Mall

Akasya mall, opened in 2014, is one of the most modern malls in Istanbul with a strong focus on (family) entertainment. The mall has a gross leasable area of 80,000 sq m and impresses with its bright design. Besides offering a mix of local and international brands like Beymen and Boyner, along with exclusive offerings such as Victoria’s Secret and Italian fashion the mall is also considered a tech hub with an IMAX theater, Apple Store, Mi Store, Bang & Olufsen, and the innovative first smart DeFacto store.

credit: Akasya Shopping Mall /// ACROSS Magazine /// Rüdiger Pleus Consulting

Emaar Square Mall

Emaar Square Mall is one of Türkiye’s largest shopping center with a leasable area of 138,000 sq m on 6 floors, housing around 420 stores, 50 restaurants, and a parking lot for 4,200 vehicles. Within the six-floor shopping center area, consumers can especially enjoy luxury brands. Entertainment is a key factor, which is ensured by the mall´s dining options, as well as its aquarium.

credit: Emaar Square Mall /// ACROSS Magazine /// Rüdiger Pleus Consulting

Cevahir Shopping Mall

One of the most successful and most visited centers in Istanbul: Cevahir Shopping Mall benefits from its strong catchment area and broad brand mix. The center has around 280 stores, 34 fast-food restaurants and 14 other restaurants. A major refurbishment is planned for the coming year.

credit: Cevahir Shopping Mall /// ACROSS Magazine /// Rüdiger Pleus Consulting

IstinyePark Shopping Mall

One of the most luxurious shopping centers in Istanbul is Istinye Park Mall. With its glittering glass ceilings, Istinye Park Shopping Mall, is home to a wide range of world-renowned brands — both international and Turkish — and some of the best local shops in Istanbul that surround a traditional Turkish bazaar which offers local delicacies.

credit: IstinyePark Shopping Mall /// ACROSS Magazine /// Rüdiger Pleus Consulting

Vadistanbul Shopping Mall

Vadistanbul Mall is also one of the largest shopping centers in Türkiye with a total rental area of 103,000 sq m. It was built in 2017. More than 270 stores, entertainment venues and cinemas are located on a 760-meter-long open-air retail boulevard. The shopping center is incorporated into the Vadistanbul project with apartments, offices and hotels.

credit: Vadistanbul Shopping Mall /// ACROSS Magazine /// Rüdiger Pleus Consulting

Zorlu Shopping Center

Zorlu Center features a luxurious shopping center, a center for performance arts, a 5-star hotel, offices, and residences. But it is not only designed as a mixed-use concept. It is absolutely tangible how different areas merge into one another and enrich each other. As such, it serves its community. It is centrally located at a transport hub with good public transport connections and forms a green recreation area. The aim of the project is to design Zorlu center as an alternative urban space for Istanbul. Therefore, the Zorlu Center exhibits a stately 120,000 sq m of green area.

credit: Zorlu Shopping Center /// ACROSS Magazine /// Rüdiger Pleus Consulting

We are constantly working to further establish the ACROSS Study Tours. Stay turned for our next destination in spring 2025. For more impressions from our ACROSS Study Tour to Istanbul, see the complete album below: