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Europe’s Largest Shopping Centre Opening in Moscow

Midst the Russian economy heading for recession, inflation closing to double figures and a currency down 20-25% to the dollar this year, Moscow is set to open Europe’s largest shopping centre this week.

Aviapark is due to open on 28th November whilst the Russian economy faces sanctions that have consumers feeling less flush in their pockets.

The shopping centre, located in Khodinskoye Pole on the outskirts of Moscow, boasts 550 stores including 80 restaurants and 17 cinema theatres in its 230,000 square metres.

The website claims a footprint 36 football pitches with space for 5,500 car spaces.

Construction of  the shopping centre began in November 2012 and investors include, Igor Rotenberg, whose father Arkady is a personal friend of Vladimir Putin.

The shopping centre is three times the size of Metropolis Mall in Moscow. This was acquired by Morgan Stanley last year for $1.2 billion, the largest real estate deal in Russian history.

85% of the shopping centre is already let and some of the anchor tenants include some of the country’s largest some grown retailers.

The weak ruble has led to imports increasing in price, that will cause concern for many for the likes of Adidas, H&M, Gap and Zara that are opening there also. Indeed, all retailers in the shopping centre will be concerned with the current situation in Russia, and their commitments to the mall.

The previous holder of the title of Europe’s largest shopping centre was the MetroCentre, Gateshead in the North East of England. This shopping centre is 194,000 square metres.

The success of super mall remains to be seen. Some analysts say large shopping centres can be recession proof to some extent, in that whilst people during a recession might not go on expensive foreign holidays or buy luxury cars, some retail therapy can compensate.

Although it will be important to ensure rents stay low during these periods in order to retain clients, and not scare them away with expensive and inflexible rental agreements.

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