Commercial complexes continue to grow in Shanghai

City-wide report indicates commercial complexes still in a period of rapid development albeit the transformation in retailing sector

The number of urban commercial complexes in Shanghai increased from 151 at the end of 2015 to 225 by the end of 2017, according to a report by the Shanghai Commercial Development Research Center. They covered 16.37 million square meters, or around 20 percent of the city's total commercial area.

Total retail sales and catering volume accounted for about 12.3 percent of the city's total retail sales of social consumables, and the growth pace of turnover was approximately 16.8 percent, about 8.1 percentage points higher than the total retail sales of consumer goods in the same period.

In comparison with 2016, the building area and total sales of commercial complexes in Shanghai had jumped by 18.4 percent and 16.8 percent respectively by the end of 2017, the report said.

The complexes posted a total passenger flow of 2.13 billion last year, with around 26,000 businesses, 312,000 employees and 145,000 parking spots. The figures all took a bump up from 2016, indicating the greater contribution of commercial complexes to the city's economic development.

In the first half of 2018, 16 urban commercial complexes opened for business in Shanghai, adding 940,000 square meters of commercial floor space. By the end of June, the number of commercial complexes and the area they cover had reached 241 and 17.31 million square meters. 

In terms of quantity and area, the city’s commercial complexes are still in a period of rapid development. By the end of October, 30 urban commercial complexes were newly opened (including soft openings) with an additional commercial building area of 1.91 million square meters. 

However, the situation in the past two years showed that despite the fast growth of the commercial building area, the year-on-year growth rate posted a downward trend — 24.6 percent in 2016, 18.4 percent in 2017, and 5.7 percent in the first half of this year.

According to the report, the rise in turnover remained at a relatively high level last year. Meanwhile, the newly added urban commercial complexes had been distributed and expanded to various districts, forming a multi-center pattern in each region.

The report highlighted that urban commercial complexes are becoming an important carrier for the establishment of companies' "first stores.” A total of 226 opened their first shop in Shanghai last year, and another 256 opened in the first half of 2018, of which 87 percent chose to launch in the city's commercial complexes such as HKRI Taikoo Hui, K11, Raffles City, Changfeng Joy City, Shanghai Global Harbor and Shanghai Shimao Festival City.

"Far more companies are choosing to set up their first store or launch their new products in Shanghai instead of other cities, indicating that Shanghai is becoming a trend leader in the process of innovation development," said Liu Min, deputy director of the city's Commission of Commerce.

The research center’s report aims to reflect the phased achievements of the "Shanghai Shopping" brand promotion, accelerate Shanghai's development as an international consumer city, and further boost healthy and sustainable development of commercial complexes in the city.

The center has conducted its city-wide statistical survey on urban commercial complexes each year since 2016.

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