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District shopping center successful despite e-commerce

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In the past 15 years, district shopping centers in The Netherlands have undergone a major metamorphosis. Especially the number of stores with products and services that cannot be offered online has grown considerably. In addition, the size of the average supermarket increased a lot. Eight out of ten centers have successfully transformed in this period, while the outlook for 34 centers is less optimistic.

Hairdressers big winner
Since 2004, the composition of district shopping centers has changed considerably. Due to the rapid development of digital services, the number of branches of recruitment agencies, banks and travel agencies fell by no less than 60%. Video shops have almost completely disappeared from the centers. The big winners are hairdressers (+463), takeaway and delivery (+322) and beauty parlors (+242). In terms of percentage, massage parlors (+ 336%), ice cream shops (+ 241%) and electronic repair shops (+ 222%) grew the fastest.

Stores with daily products are crucial
District shopping centers that for a large part consist of stores with daily (fresh) products appear to be the most successful and hardly have any vacancy. This applies to one third of all 632 district shopping centers. Good examples are Keizerlanden in Deventer, Buytenwegh in Zoetermeer and Brazilië in Amsterdam. There are opportunities for improvement in 306 centers. Together, more than 80% of these centers are doing well. On the other hand, there are 84 risk centers that are less successful and 34 problem centers with a large share of long-term vacancy where rigorous measures seem inevitable.

Limburg at the bottom of the list
The risk and problem centers are spread throughout the country, with large concentrations in the Rotterdam, Eindhoven-Helmond and Heerlen regions. Although problem centers can be found in all five major cities, they are absent in a large number of medium-sized cities such as Alkmaar, Deventer, Delft, Dordrecht, Haarlem, Zoetermeer and Zwolle. At the provincial level, Limburg is at the bottom of the list since almost half of the centers are not doing well. Flevoland and Friesland perform very well and contain no problem centers at all.

The future looks bright for the vast majority of district shopping centers. They have succeeded in adjusting their composition in the right way. The risk centers must act quickly and bet on more stores with daily products, leisure or services. For problem centers, (partial) demolition, transformation or re-use is the only solution to prevent a ghost center in the middle of a neighborhood.

District shopping center successful despite e-commerce

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Alexandra Rosian

Associate Director Capital Markets


Alexandra has over 12 years experience in real estate with a focus on retail. She joined the Capital Markets team at Colliers in February 2017 and created the Retail Capital Markets team. Today, the team successfully operates in all retail investment segments, from high-street assets to convenience centers and full-fledged shopping centers.

Previously, Alexandra spent 7 years at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, responsible for pan-European valuations and afterwards for asset management of office and shopping centre portfolios in The Netherlands. She also spent 1 year at EDGE (formerly OVG), developer of the world's most sustainable office building.

After her MBA, Alexandra worked for the first 5 years in finance in a start-up environment, before finding her passion in real estate since 2008.

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