A conversation with Stefan Juszczak, an expert on the commercial real estate market in Poland.

Stefan Juszczak

Founder and managing director of Property Solution, which represents a group of tenants in the commercial real estate market in Poland. Currently, it is a direct representative of brands such as Kappahl, Newbie, Kappahl Kids, Autorska Bookstore, Folkstar gift store, Trafika Tabak Polska kiosks, Czas na Herbatę, and Frac delicatessen. Stefan Juszczak specializes in commercialization and re-commercialization of shopping malls in Poland. He is also a consultant and advisor on topics related to real estate and commercial real estate expansion, and a business partner of KPRF Law Office.

Polish cities are winning international charts in terms of the size of retail space. In Wroclaw, per capita, there is as much as 0.9 m2 gallery. In theory, this city of more than 600,000 people could fit inside its commercial facilities. Does this mean that the commercial real estate market in Poland is doing better than ever? Or is there an impending crisis?

The city of Wroclaw is in the lead when it comes to the amount of space per capita. I believe that, at least for a few years, another large shopping complex will not be built. But there will definitely be neighborhood tpu retail park galleries built for a limited group of customers living in close proximity to the mall. Retail parks offer daily necessities such as groceries, drugstores and pharmacies. Such commercial buildings will always be in demand.

Is the Sunday trading ban causing concern among tenants ?

This issue is of great concern to tenants especially clothing, DIY stores and impulse stores. Food, but not articles of clothing, will be available for stock. Two months after the ban, tenants say sales have dropped. However, I think that the big clothing chains will promote Saturdays very strongly in order to “push” as much merchandise as possible to make up for Sunday’s drop in sales. Catering and services such as cinema will certainly benefit from the ban. People will have to do something with their time so they will probably switch to culture and eating with family in restaurants and large foodcourts in shopping malls, as is the case, for example. In Germany. In a few years, no one will remember that Sundays were commercial. Sunday sales will move to the Internet. Personally, I think that every second Sunday of the month should be commercial, but up to a maximum of one hour. 18.00.

E-commerce industry vs. shopping malls. How does online commerce affect commercialization levels in shopping malls?

Internet sales have been regularly increasing their turnover levels for many years and, in my opinion, will continue to grow. Arguably, in 20-30 years it will be the dominant revenue from trade. There will be more stores that allow you to see the goods, but the specific sales will be online. A good example is the online store e-obuwie, which shows its assortment in shopping malls in addition to selling online. It is certain that sales at stationary stores will decline.

New trend: community galleries. More and more cafes, restaurants and even coworking spaces are popping up adjacent to the stores. Do you notice these changes?

In Poland, the culture of eating meals, coffee outside one’s own home has increased. Coffee prices are still too high, but the operators of these concepts will only realize this in a little while. Whoever takes the step to lower them earlier will have a set of customers. Today, young people no longer want to meet at home, but seek pleasure in common meetings – preferably in cafes. Lunchtime lunches are also very popular. As recently as 15-20 years ago, there was no such custom, but now between 1 and 3 pm restaurants in shopping malls are bursting at the seams, which means that the younger generation has a different understanding of what a family dinner is, thus driving up the restaurant business.

You work with German brands. Can you talk about any similarities and differences between Polish and German shopping malls?

I don’t currently serve German operators, so I can’t say much about that. But as a private person going to Germany for a trip, I can say to everyone that in Poland we have shopping malls that are nicer, more modern, with global clothing and food operators, and we have nothing to be ashamed of. And comparing, for example. Gas stations in Germany and in Poland we are, in my opinion, a whole era ahead ☺.

Commercialization. Why is it necessary to remodel old business houses? In what are they inferior to the new ones?

The commercialization is due to the fact that tenants are exchanging. Some companies are downsizing their network, some are going bankrupt, and there are some that are significantly increasing their areas like ccc, lpp group and h&m. Others simply want to do a revitalization of their store, changing visuals, furniture and raising service standards. Trade is evolving all the time. In order to stay in the market, it is necessary to give more positive impulses to make customers happy to come to the mall and thus to their stores. It is a very positive development that retail chains see the need for change and are adapting to Polish customers, who are increasingly demanding.

What do tenants dream about: does the location of the store within the mall matter to them? How do you select store furniture? How does he design a retail space? What elements do you pay special attention to if you want to attract customers?

When asked what are the 3 most important elements for a tenant in a mall, the answer has always been “location, location, location.” In this regard, nothing has changed. Every tenant would like to have their premises on the first floor, at the main entrance or at the exit of the parking lots. There are certain standards for choosing the best location, and this is not changing. Of course, there are retail chains that will manage regardless of location, but these are the best. When it comes to the selection of commercial furniture, it is now pols to learn how to properly make furniture to be practical and customized. I like the fact that the vendors take care of proper display, availability of their assortment and want to show their product legibly. In terms of retail space, there are chains that give a huge amount of assortment per m2 and the store is cramped, but with a very large selection. Nowadays, however, respectable chains create “inviting” entrances with a wide walk way and clear placement of checkout stands. Everyone is trying to fight for the customer to choose their store. The chains are trying to learn about their customers’ preferences through surveys and conversations during sales. In short, the battle for customers continues at its best.