Store rental rates stop falling as new players enter local market

Store rental rates stop falling as new players enter local market

The low rents and the availability of quality properties in the country’s most popular shopping spots are convincing more and more retail chains to take the plunge in Greece or to expand their presence in the domestic market.

That explains the rebound in rental rates recorded last year on a number of Athens’s popular streets, especially as far as quality properties are concerned, according to the annual survey by NAI Hellas, a commercial property consultancy that is a member of NAI Global.

The main shopping street in the center of Athens, Ermou, is currently stable with monthly rates ranging between 90 and 140 euros per square meter, followed by Glyfada with a range of between 60 and 100 euros/sq.m. which has seen a welcome rise since 2014. Panepistimiou Street (60-105 euros/sq.m.) and the upscale Kolonaki neighborhood (55-90 euros/sq.m.) in central Athens have seen a rate decline.

The stabilization of rates has been helped by the entry of new international chains, such as English Home, which has opened seven stores around the capital, and Athlete’s Foot, which has two new stores in Kifissia and Piraeus. Existing groups, both local and multinational, have also expanded, adding new points of sale.

NAI Hellas argues that apparel stores are the strongest tenants on the country’s high streets, covering some 40 percent of each market, with Ermou, where apparel stores boast a 76 percent share, being the exception. The food service sector ranks second after growing for a second consecutive year in 2015.

Among the retail chains to enter Greece last year was Dutch lingerie company Hunkemoller, which opened its first store in Patra and is planning to set up shop in Athens and Thessaloniki soon too. Spanish peer Women’Secret has followed up its first store at the Athens Metro Mall with a presence at the River West mall, also in the capital.

The trend for retail chain expansion is set to continue into 2016, as Burger King is still planning to enter Greece, despite the delays. NAI Hellas says the fast-food chain aims to open five restaurants by year-end. Another US chain, clothing company American Eagle Outfitters, is examining its entry into the Greek market in cooperation with Notos Holdings.

Existing market players have also boosted their presence: H&M opened its central store on Ermou Street in October, which covers 3,900 sq.m., and is planning to launch another outlet at the new Mare West mall near Corinth. The Inditex Group has also opened three new stores at River West, and one apiece in Thessaloniki, Myconos, Rhodes and Trikala.

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