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Poland ranked 2nd most attractive retail location for 2011 in EMEA


Poland is perceived by the world’s retailers as the second most attractive market to expand in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region in 2011, only behind Germany, according to an annual survey by CB Richard Ellis, the commercial real estate advisers. This is up from fourth last year.

The survey is based on interviews with 212 leading international retail chains. Thirty-three percent of the respondents mentioned Poland as a country where they planned to open new stores or expand existing ones next year, roughly the same as in 2009. Germany topped the ranking with 41%, down from 47% last year. France came level with Poland, followed by Spain (30%) and the United Kingdom (29%). Apart from Poland, the highest-ranking CEE countries were Russia and Czech Republic in sixth (28%).

According to CB Richard Ellis, Poland stands out in the region, not only in terms of the strength of its economy but also because of its relatively limited supply of top quality retail space. And it is this latter factor that poses the main downside risk for the planned expansion of global retailers in Poland. Although the supply of retail space in Poland is expected to increase in 2011, property developers’ plans for the construction of new shopping-centre space are limited, which could force retailers to reconsider or scale back their growth plans in Poland, according to CB Richard Ellis.

Poland's second place in the ranking of the most attractive retail locations for 2011 in EMEA is not a surprise. The country has a big domestic market; furthermore, its economy was the only one in the EU to avoid a recession, and is now one of the fastest-growing in the region, mainly thanks to a recovery of consumer demand. Poland's economic prospects are further enhanced by its role as co-host of the upcoming Euro 2012 football championships, which should provide an added stimulus to GDP growth. On the other hand, the difficult situation of the country's public finances and the need for fiscal consolidation in the coming years are something of a burden for its economy, likely to have a dampening effect on short-term growth and consumption levels.
The strong showing by the Czech Republic, which has a much smaller domestic market, is also in large part thanks to the relatively robust performance of its economy. After contracting in 2009, it fairly quickly returned to a solid growth path, and the relatively good condition of the country’s public finances increases the chances that the positive tendencies will continue in the years ahead.
By contrast, the Romanian economy has fared much worse during the crisis and is now one of just a few EU economies to remain in recession. With growth prospects for the coming years highly uncertain, Romania has suffered a sharper fall in the percentage of retailers targeting it for expansion next year than any other country covered by the ranking.

Paweł Sionko
Senior Economist
PMR Publications

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