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News 7

Turkey’s Young Shoppers Choosing Malls Powers Development Boom

Turkey, where jewelry, fabrics and spices have been haggled over in bazaars for centuries, was among the last European countries to embrace modern shopping centers. It's catching up quickly.

Property developers attracted by one of the youngest populations in Europe are building malls at a faster rate than in any other country on the continent except Russia. Istanbul, Turkey's wealthiest and most populous city, is leading the way with about 30 centers in the pipeline.

"The attraction of Turkey is the enormous power of young people wanting to go out and improve their lot and their willingness to spend," said Frank Billand, board member in charge of shopping centers for Union Investment Real Estate GmbH. The Hamburg-based money manager owns four centers in Turkey valued at 450 million euros ($574 million).

Private consumption fueled an 8.2 percent increase in gross domestic product in the third quarter, three times Germany's growth rate. The economy's strength encouraged Multi Corp. BV, Inditex SA and Abercrombie & Fitch Co. to invest in a country which, according to Cushman & Wakefield Inc., has 76 square meters (818 square feet) of mall space for every 1,000 inhabitants. That compares with 240 square meters in the European Union.

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