Top 10 must-haves from Turkish shopping malls, which can be useful in Ukraine

Istanbul - Kyiv: 10 topics for Ukrainian shopping malls' development

Hanna Chubotina, the Director of Retail Space Department of Arricano Real Estate Plc, has visited late November the Retail Days Istanbul-2017, the largest international retail real estate exhibition, which was attended by representatives of more than 40 countries. The trip's program included, among other things, visiting the Istanbul's shopping malls, which are the trend-makers in the world retail real estate. Hanna talks about 10 aspects of Turkish shopping malls, which create a powerful impression and attract numerous purchasers.

The professional Istanbul commercial real estate market is more than twenty years old. Akmerkez, the first professional shopping center in Istanbul, opened in 1993. Today, the city has more than 100 shopping centers, which make the one-third of all shopping malls in Turkey. Till the end of 2019 (with the launch of all the objects declared for opening), the square meters' saturation per 1000 inhabitants in the city can be about 357 sq. m. Istanbul is one of the most populated cities in the world: as of January 1, 2017, the population of the megapolis was about 15 million people. It is the largest air transport logistics hub, one of the five most popular tourist destinations in the world. When coming into the newly built shopping centers of Istanbul, a metropolis that, along with London and Paris, is a trend setter in retail, it can be seen by an unaided eye that by their size, exteriors and interiors, technologies, management approaches, and etc. used in construction, these projects are owing to the high purchasing power and market capacity, which can ensure the return of large investments in construction. Istinye Park (2007, GLA 87000 sq. m., 300 stores), Aqua Florya (2012, GLA 45000 sq. m., 160 stores), Zorlu Center (2013, GLA 73000 sq. m., 205 stores), Akasya Mall (2014, GLA 80000 sq. m., 257 stores), Mall of Istanbul (2014, GLA 155000 sq. m., 350 stores), Vadistanbul (2017, GLA 103000 sq. m., 230 stores) are among the most interesting objects in Istanbul. I would like to focus on 10 main characteristics, the Top 10 must-haves from professional shopping malls, which favorably distinguish the Istanbul projects and which can be useful in Ukraine:

Architecture. Istanbul developers create large shopping centers, which have plenty of space, atriums, glass, light, high showcases, a large number of recreation areas, vast parking lots. My favorites are Istinye Park and Zorlu Center, where luxury brand stores' faces can be seen from the atmospheric restaurant courtyards, and Akasya Mall with built-in open green spaces, where it is great to rest in an open-air cafe after shopping. The climate allows organizing such spaces. This advantage was fully implemented in Aqua Florya shopping center, which is located on the shores of the Sea of Marmara: a food court and fine-dining restaurants with specific terraces and access to a long cozy embankment occupy a large part of this relatively small project, for which this project has received recognition as the New Generation Life Complex.

Food courts and restaurants. The share of F&B in the new Istanbul shopping centers reaches 30%. This is a mix of fast-food, casual and fine-dining. For example, local Hacı Abdullah, Cantinery, Günaydın and Welldone by Midpoint, which developed new concepts specifically for this project, and a huge food court consisting of 21 operators, with democratic prices and cuisine for every taste can be found in the Zorlu Center next to Eataly, Jamie's Italian and Tom's Kitchen. It is believed that it is totally safe to eat everywhere, including purchasing food from the trays in Istanbul.

Specialty leasing or its absence. There is practically no island trade in those shopping centers, which we've visited. Due to the impressive shopping arcade's passage width and the islands absence there, the shopping centers are felt spacious and not cluttered. However, the goods are partially taken out of the shops in the Bazaar area's food market that give a special flavor to such a trade.

Hypermarket. There are no hypermarkets in the new shopping centers. Instead, there is either the grocery market - Bazaar area with cafes and restaurants, or a medium-sized supermarket without a cash zone.

Tenant mix. Usually, the shopping mall has a zoning according to the price criterion and by commodity groups (not always prominent). For example, the Mall of Istanbul has an interesting fashion stores' distribution: the first floor - casual, the left wing of the second floor - classic, the right wing of the second floor - sports. The each shopping center's zone has a catering establishment in the price category corresponding to the shops around. Traditionally, a significant part of network brands in the mall is repeated. The number of local brands that occupy a significant market share (LC Waikiki, Defacto, Koton, FLO, Colin's and others), a wide representation of international networks (for example, H&M, COS, Hamleys, Starbucks), a significant number of luxury and premium brands are impressive.

Social and educational functions. There are either exhibition centers, or theaters, or concert halls in all shopping centers that we've visited. So, the largest in the country center of arts Zorlu Center PSM, with a theater for 770 seats and a concert hall for 2 300 seats, is located in Zorlu Center; a concert hall of MOI Stage, where famous performers, local and international theatrical companies act, - in the Mall of Istanbul; a platform for international exhibitions Akasya Meydan - in Akasya Shopping Center; an amphitheater for 900 spectators in the open air - in Aqua Florya.

Advertising, design, aroma marketing. The Turkish shopping malls use indoor advertising (for example, escalators' pasting, remote standers, etc.) at minimum: they are mainly electronic plasma panels and advertising stands. Tenants extensively use plasma panels for the shop windows' decoration. We did not notice obsessive audio ads, advertisements, except for emergency messages. The musical background was easy in the majority of objects. The Turkish retailers are actively using aroma marketing in their stores - I guess that's the part of their tradition, but I sometimes there was a lot of smells, as for me.

Entertaining component. Each new project can boast with a strong entertainment component. The Mall of Istanbul is MOIPARK, one of the largest indoor entertainment parks in Europe. I recommend one of the largest in Europe thematic aquariums, located in Aqua Florya, for visiting with children. Each mall has multiplex cinemas, all cinemas have lounges, Istinye Park and Akasya Mall have modern IMAX 3D halls.

Services. All shopping centers provide various services: free baby carriages, wheelchairs for the disabled people, wardrobes, storage rooms, mother and child rooms (sometimes with devices for bottle warming), showers, gadget recharging; parking service, ATMs, lost property offices, prayer rooms, concierge service. Concierge in Akasya Mall will help you purchasing tickets to the cinema / any cultural events, organize the purchased goods' return or repair, the professional stylist will help you decide on the style and purchases, deliver the packages to the car or get them straight to your home.

Mixed-used projects. Often, new shopping centers are the part of mixed-used projects. This can be explained in large by the fact that Istanbul is a huge city, experiencing great logistical problems, suffocating in traffic jams. And, of course, this synergy increases the project's profitability. Therefore, qualitative objects are being created, where many needs can be met without leaving their borders. For example, Zorlu Center and Mall of Istanbul combine shopping, office, residential components and five-star hotels.