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Carrefour is strengthening its position in the shopping centre market in Poland

Ronan Martin, Vice-President, BU Expansion and Shopping Malls Director, Carrefour Polska

Every year customers of shopping centres become more and more demanding. They expect retail schemes to provide not only an extensive retail offer, but also entertainment, interesting meeting points or healthcare services. Easy shopping and digitalisation, which mean comfortable traffic within a shopping centre, access to wireless Internet, and modern solutions in terms of communication and social media, are becoming increasingly important for them. Interestingly, tenants have the same expectations as customers; apart from footfall and financial indicators they also pay attention to the interior design standard of the project where they are renting the premises.

Investments of Carrefour in Poland include this evolution of the needs and expectations of customers and tenants. Thanks to the strategy of extensions, remodelling and re-commercialization of existing shopping centres, and modernisations of hyper- and supermarkets since 2014, Carrefour is able to offer its customers modern shopping space, and its tenants new development possibilities, based on solid foundations – high and stable footfall, well-known locations and a strong food operator. The examples of projects developed by Carrefour in Gdańsk, Jastrzębie-Zdrój and Sochaczew throughout the past two years, show that existing assets after remodelling may successfully compete in local markets and gain many new customers. The same applies to hyper- and supermarkets, as proven by the recently completed remodelling of the Carrefour supermarket in Warsaw's district of Białołęka, or in Podkowa Leśna near Warsaw.

Galeria Morena in Gdańsk is one of the most recognisable investments by Carrefour in Poland and one of the biggest modernisations of an existing shopping centre to be carried out in Poland recently. Following the extension, the project gained more than 13,000 sqm of new leasable space, many new functions, e.g. a cinema and a fitness club, as well as numerous innovative solutions, such as interactive entertainment zones, Wi-Fi access or spacious open terrace for leisure. The big opening of the centre, which took place by the end of May 2016, showed the great demand of the inhabitants of Gdańsk for a modern shopping centre in that location.

It was similar in the case of Galeria Zdrój in Jastrzębie-Zdrój and Sonata Park in Sochaczew. Thanks to the thorough modernisations of both interior and exterior, redevelopment and remodelling of their Carrefour hypermarkets, and well thought-out re-commercialization, these projects have found new international tenants and considerably increased their competitiveness as well as footfall.

Carrefour, which is familiar with the high potential of existing locations, is not slowing down and has already chosen more shopping centres which will undergo thorough modernisations within the coming months. The first one is the shopping centre in Bydgoszcz. The current site of the existing scheme will house the largest outlet in the region: Metropolitan Outlet Bydgoszcz. The area of over 17,000 sqm GLA will house more than 60 outlet brands – fashion, sports, footwear, leather goods and interior design products of renowned Polish and international manufacturers. The offer will be complemented by food serving venues, service points and a playground for children. One of the advantages of the outlet will be a redeveloped Carrefour hypermarket, additionally with a petrol station. The redevelopment of the previous shopping centre into an outlet fits well the current market trends – outlet centres enjoy an increasing popularity among Polish consumers.

Carrefour is planning major extensions also in Białystok and Szczecin. In Białystok, Galeria Zielone Wzgórze will grow by more than 20,000 sqm GLA and will offer modern interiors and a number of new functions: an extended food court zone, a fitness club and a children's playground. Similar future also awaits Galeria Gryf in Szczecin next year.

Carrefour shopping centres currently offer a total of over 230,000 sqm GLA. We are convinced that the modernisations in the pipeline will be to the liking of our customers and tenants. We will make every effort for them to be as spectacular as our Galeria Morena, and to serve as an interesting alternative for the newly delivered shopping centres.

Ronan Martin, Vice-President, BU Expansion and Shopping Malls Director, Carrefour Polska

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