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Retail sales for non-food items have returned to pre Covid-19 levels despite the lockdown period when stores were closed

2020 has been the most difficult year for the Romanian retail segment since the 2009-2010 recession, with shopping centres closed for approximately two months during the spring of 2020, but the overall impact remains uneven. Retailers that already had online shops were the winners, as online sales expanded by about 30% in the first 9 months of 2020, helping bring overall sales back to pre Covid-19 levels, with the non-food sector up by 4%, according to the “ExCEEding Borders. The Retail in Pandemic in CEE-17 Countries” report released by Colliers International.

Colliers consultants are observing a sharp increase in consumer activity in e-commerce which has become a fundamental element of the ongoing transformation of the retail sector, related to the development of technology and changes in consumer behavior. There has also been a significant increase in the percentage of people over the age of 55, who are now shifting from shopping in off-line to on-line stores.

The pandemic has forced retailers to adapt to the new reality in a matter of weeks, that meaning operational improvements, focus on online marketing or starting online sales from scratch, collaboration with delivery companies or supermarkets as places to collect orders from, implementation of safety measures, correlation of the stock with the changing demand, etc.  That led to a relatively fast recovery of the sales after the lockdown and even slight increase of sales for some categories such as food, home related products, sports or cosmetics. These are the retailers that are usually present in retail parks or stand alone units, so the performance of this type of scheme was almost not affected by Covid. Investors have acknowledged that and immediately focused more on this type of investment product, which lead to increased demand on this segment and slight compression of yields in the large cities”, says Simina Niculiță, Partner & Head of Retail Agency at Colliers International.

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Simina Niculita

Director | Partner | Romania

Bucharest

Simina joined Colliers International in May 2005. She started her career as a junior broker selling new apartments in some of the first residential projects. In less than one year, she became the Project Manager of several residential projects, coordinating the sales team and advising on the sales and marketing strategy. She also provided consultancy for other new projects to be launched on the market.

During 2007-2008, Simina led the residential investment team and offered consultancy to investors interested in acquiring portfolios of apartments. She managed to sell a total of 1,300 apartments in 14 months and coordinated the sales & marketing strategy for off-plan residential projects: Central Park, Global City, Flamenco, Seasons, Green Lake, Sky City;

Simina joined the Retail Agency at the beginning of 2009, creating several retail schemes both as a Project Manager and as a Leasing Broker. Her work with the developers involved concept consultancy, market research, team coordination, and leasing strategy.

Currently, Simina is Associate Director of the Retail Agency and has an active role in establishing the strategy and the priorities of the Shopping Centers team. Simina is focused on project management, providing consultancy for future major retail schemes and negotiating with anchor tenants and medium size tenants. 

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Silviu Pop

Head of Research | Romania

Bucharest

Before joining Colliers mid-2017 as Head of Research for Romania, Silviu Pop worked with ING Bank for close to three years as an economist, covering macroeconomic/financial market themes for Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Croatia. His previous professional experience includes working almost 7 years as a financial journalist at various media outlets in Romania, including the sole business-oriented TV station in Romania, where he hosted a daily show for a period of time; during this interval,  he won a number of scholarships, including a stint with Reuters. He holds a BSc in economics at the Bucharest University of Economic Studies.

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