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.