Real estate: Looking for shops on popular shopping streets

Particularly influenced seems to be today in Greece by high inflation, which has reduced the consumption costs of Greeks. Fact, however, that has not affected demand for available on the main trade routes, nor has it reduced rents which continue their upward course. As the recent investigation of Cerved Property Services shows, there is a particular stagnation in market efficiency, despite satisfactory movement in retail outlets. Most shopkeepers experienced a decrease compared to last year, even in periods that expected increased turnover, such as winter and summer discounts and Black Friday. Nevertheless, shops on main shopping roads, established shopping centers and commercial parks gathered almost all the interest of investors in 2023. In addition, there is particular mobility for employees, who either try to gain a place in the main commercial axes or improve their existing positions by moving to more prominent locations. At the same time, many foreign chains chose to open shops in Greece, seeking available properties on the main commercial roads. On the other hand, investors maintain a waiting position regarding their investment plans, waiting for developments mainly because of the cost of money after the further increase in ECB interest rates. On the commercial streets of Ermou in Athens, Metaxa in Glyfada, Tsimiski in Thessaloniki, in the center of Piraeus, as well as in the dynamic regional markets of Chalandri, Kallithea, Peristeri, there are no properties available for rent, as everything that comes out on the market is rented immediately. Ermou maintains 15th place in the ranking of the most privileged retail markets worldwide. Its rents did not follow the downward trend of European markets, as they were formed annually at the same levels as before the pandemic and slightly higher. With regard to the rental of shops on the main commercial roads, a stabilizing trend is recorded, although in the most prominent locations of Athens, Glyfada and Thessaloniki, there are slightly higher prices compared to 2023. Ermou, which is by far the most expensive commercial street in the country, has a monthly rental cost of about 220 euros/sq.m. for a typical retail shop. In any case, although the stock of vacant stores is now very low and demand from tenants is strong, rents will not increase significantly soon. Glyfada has long surpassed Kifisia at a monthly rental cost of 130 €/sq.m. for a typical retail shop on Metaxas Street or Esperides Square. Its shopping center is more extensive, more dynamic and with more significant traffic mainly due to the affluent foreigners hosted by the area as visitors and permanent residents. About the odds, Ermou leads here, keeping 5.5%. The Kolonaki market is now shrinking around its square and has lost the hyperlocal interest it formerly had with expensive retail shops and sought after brand names. These have been moved to Bucharest, University and Stadium streets around Syntagma Square, where rentals compete with those of Ermou. The durability of rents at high levels is mainly a result of low rates of emptiness, competition between retailers to ensure a central location on the most important commercial road in Greece and high tourist traffic. On the other hand, the vacant or unusable shops in the center of Athens represent 22.9% of the total (last year was 22.4%), with most being located in the galleries (Sofokleous, Aristidou, Lekka, Stadium) and the streets of Stadium, Athens and Aeolus, between Constitution and Omonoia. However, the commercial center of Athens continues to be alive with a wide variety of shops and thematic specialization on individual roads. The two main uses are clothing and footwear (16.2%) and catering and entertainment services (14.4%), which in recent years have gained ground, thanks to the increase in tourism flows throughout the year. The course of the retail trade, however, is naturally affected by the electronic commerce sector which maintains a growth rate in Europe. In Greece, internet usage increased from 79% in 2021 to 84% in 2022 and 2023. Consequently, Greeks who shop online continue to increase from 51% in 2019 to 70% in 2022 and 75% in 2023. Online sales also have a steady rise, from 7,5 billion euros in 2019 to 8-10% annually, with an estimated turnover of 17.33 billion euros in 2023. According to a survey by the Greek Confederation of Trade and Entrepreneurship, 14% of online consumer markets represent over 30% of their total purchases. 8% makes online purchases that make up 21%-30% of their total purchases. 9% buys online, accounting for 11%-20% of their total purchases, while 20% makes purchases representing more than 5% to 10% of their total purchases. 31% makes purchases corresponding to less than 5%, and there is an 18% that does not shop at all from online stores.