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Retail space in Poland is growing at a record pace

REAL ESTATERetail space in Poland is growing at a record pace

In 2023, the commercial real estate market in Poland grew by an additional 380,000 square meters. As a result, the total areas of shopping centers in Poland increased to approximately 12.9 million square meters of Gross Leasable Area (GLA), according to the data provided by Colliers. The saturation of commercial space reached 337 square meters per 1,000 inhabitants and the vacancy rate in the eight largest agglomerations dropped to 3.6%. The dynamics of the Polish commercial market were significantly influenced by the introduction of new directives and the debut of 30 new stationary brands.

Highest Supply Since 2016

In 2023, the commercial real estate market in Poland recorded significant growth, with the commissioning of approximately 380,000 sqm of GLA in 45 shopping centers, marking the largest increase in this segment since 2016. New projects accounted for approximately 89% of the entire volume (around 337,000 sqm), while the remaining 43,000 sqm resulted from the expansion of existing facilities. The total resources of modern shopping centers in Poland increased in 2023 to nearly 12.9 million sqm GLA.

Particularly active development was noted in cities with less than 100,000 inhabitants, where in 2023, 68% of the new space was delivered (almost 260,000 sqm). In cities with populations between 100 and 200 thousand inhabitants, over 56,000 sqm of new supply was recorded, while the eight largest urban centers saw 50,000 sqm in total.

“87% of all new supply in Poland was the space within retail parks. The dynamics of the market are also significantly influenced by the liquidations and demolitions of old facilities, led by the closure of the Galeria Malta in Poznań in 2023. Among other key market trends, it is worth paying attention to the dynamically developing food hall segment, with new concepts opened in Bydgoszcz and Gdańsk” – reports Wojtowicz Wojciech, Analyst, Consulting and Market Research Department, Colliers.

Foreign Brands Investing in Development in Poland

In 2023, the Polish trade market was enriched by 30 new brands, the majority of which debuted in the Warsaw agglomeration. These include brands such as Lush, Helly Hansen, Moschino Jeans, LALA, Guerlain, Woolworth, Popeyes, Candy Pop, and Bob Snail.

“The year 2023 brought a significant wave of debuts on the Polish market. These were both spectacular entries of international entities, including Woolworth, as well as individual debuts, such as Candy Pop, LALA, Guerlain. Also debuting were additional chains from Ukraine, such as Dnipro M, BLEST” – says Karol Milczarski, Senior Associate in the Retail Space Department, Colliers.

There were also premieres of new innovative projects from known networks: Żabka opened the first store in the Drive concept and the Żabka Non-Stop shop operating at night. Auchan launched the autonomous AuchanGo store. Other brands such as Decathlon, Kazaar, Sphinx, and Wólczanka also decided to introduce new concepts.

The year 2023 was also significant in terms of mergers and acquisitions – SPORTSDIRECT.COM became the new owner of the GoSport chain, EpicentrK invested in Intersport Polska, and Benefit Systems took over selected Calypso fitness clubs. However, the brand Monki, which belongs to the H&M Group portfolio, left Poland.

Changes for the e-commerce market

In 2023, the percentage of e-commerce in Polish retail trade showed a downward trend compared to the previous year, which was a reversal of the growth trend observed during the pandemic. According to the Central Statistical Office data, the share of online sales in 2023 ranged from 7.7% in July (-0.7 p.p. year-on-year) to 11.7% in November (-0.2 p.p. year-on-year), indicating a gradual slowdown in the growth of online sales.

Also, significant changes were seen at the level of platforms and providers – the Shopee platform left Poland, and new players such as, Temu,, and Ochama appeared on the market.

Fewer Leased Areas

In the third quarter of 2023, the retail market in Poland was characterized by a low vacancy rate. In the eight largest agglomeration markets, it fell to 3.6%, which is a significant improvement compared to the 4.7% result a year earlier. The lowest vacancy rate was maintained in Krakow (1.7%), the highest in Poznań (4.4%), although in the capital of Wielkopolska there was also a decrease in the vacancy rate, resulting from the closure of two facilities with a high indicator of unleased areas (Galeria Malta and Pasaż Serbska). At the end of 2023, about 230,000 sqm of GLA was still available for rent, a reduction of over 70,000 sqm compared to the same period in the previous year. The Warsaw market and the Upper Silesian-Dąbrowa Basin conurbation (nearly 45,000 sqm) had the highest coefficient of available area among them.

In medium-sized cities, with a population between 200 and 400 thousand inhabitants, the average vacancy rate was 2.9%. The lowest in this category was recorded in Częstochowa (1.8%), and the highest in Lublin (4.3%, 18.3 thousand sqm). A low vacancy rate was also noticed in smaller cities, such as Toruń and Kielce, which reflects the generally good condition of the retail market in Poland.

New Openings Mainly in Smaller Cities

At the end of the fourth quarter of 2023, approximately 365,000 sqm of GLA remained under construction, with about half of the developing space located in smaller cities, those with less than 100,000 inhabitants. Another 30% of the constructed area, i.e., 114,000 sqm of GLA, is being realized in the eight largest agglomerations. The dominant form of investment are retail parks, which constitute about 78% of all currently constructed spaces.

“Projections for 2024 indicate the further evolution of the retail market in Poland. The development of multifunctional complexes continues to be extremely popular. Openings of new salons and stores in various projects are planned, including in the Fabryka Norblina in Warsaw or the Stary Browar in Poznań. The construction of new investments in several Polish cities is underway, especially in smaller cities, the development of economically-profiled brands will continue. At the same time, we observe an increase in the importance of service and commercial premises in housing investments. This is a response to the needs of consumers looking for convenient access to services and shopping. The year 2024 will also be a period of intensive renovation and modernization of commercial facilities towards sustainable development, including improving the energy efficiency of buildings and reducing CO2 emissions. This is a market response to changes in laws, but also a result of growing environmental awareness in the trade sector” – says Karol Milczarski.

[1] Agglomerations: Warsaw, Krakow, Poznań, Wrocław, Tri-City, Upper Silesian-Zagłębie, Łódź, and Szczecin

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