THE OPERATOR OF AUCHAN KORZÓ IS OPTIMISTIC REGARDING THE LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF THE PANDEMIC
Ceetrus Hungary Kft, the operator of Auchan Korzó in Hungary examined the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on retail turnover. Based on tenant turnover data as well as visitor numbers, it can be concluded that the number of visitors to Auchan stores were steadily increasing in the months before the virus. In January and February 2020, the main entrance of the shopping centers was crossed by more than 5 per cent and the direct entrance to hypermarkets by an average of 7.6 per cent more visitors than in the same period last year. However, the higher number of visitors before the pandemic may have been partly due to pre-viral food accumulation, as the increased traffic is not fully reflected in the sales figures of Auchan Korzó stores.
According to the data of Ceetrus Hungary Kft. the company that operates 650 rental venues in 18 Auchan shopping centers nationwide, the number of visitors to Auchan hypermarkets did not decrease even during curfew restrictions. Visitor numbers in March-April were almost the same as last year, and there is even some increase in case of the footfall of direct entrances to the hypermarkets. The turnover of non-food retail stores however has gradually declined parallel to the curfew restrictions. The negative peak was clearly in April - the turnover of some tenants fell by as much as 80 percent compared to the same period in 2019 this month.
“The Auchan Korzós and our commercial parks have proven to be more resilient compared to other players in the market, our visitor numbers have barely fallen on average. The population preferred to visit larger, more spacious places for shopping like hypermarkets or DIY stores, but even drive-in restaurants proved to be more attractive. Different segments were affected differently by the crisis. Some who had a significant 50-80% drop in turnover and therefore had to close (such as the fashion sector for example), but there were also those who were able to increase their turnover compared to the previous year (electronics, DIY). Thanks to the lifting of curfew restrictions, life is gradually returning to the Auchan Korzó shops - 99% of the stores are reopened, even the food courts. For the time being, we do not see any customers turning away from certain types of stores, moreover, people seem to enjoy shopping even more. But we cannot yet say exactly to what extent the purchasing power has been affected by the events of the last two and a half months. Online shopping has certainly benefited from people being forced to stay at home, but the importance of a meeting, a shared lunch, the fun of shopping has survived, and this is what Auchan Korzós offer an excellent opportunity for.”- said Balázs Gábosy, Director of Operations at Ceetrus Hungary Kft. in connection with the effects of the epidemic.
Although some purchases have shifted to online platforms in recent months as a result of the restrictive measures, the persistence of this trend is questionable. Auchan hypermarkets as well as Auchan Korzó stores take various precautions to make shopping safer for customers – they put out hand sanitizers and draw attention to keeping distance. Tenant turnover of Auchan Korzós has been growing steadily since the restrictions were lifted. Ceetrus Hungary Kft., like other players in the retail sector, expects that customers will gradually return to their previous purchasing habits as the epidemic recedes, and the economic impact will mainly affect the first and second quarters.
Ceetrus is a global property player based in Europe, founded in 1976. The company was known as Immochan until June 2018. The company’s new name is constructed from the following words: “SEE” (see) “CITIES), “TRUST” (trust), “US” (we). Ceetrus has nearly 1,000 employees across 10 countries, 279 commercial sites including 76 “Aushopping” sites; 1 billion visits/year; a year; 10,700 retail partners; 130 social entrepreneurs supported by the Ceetrus Foundation; over 1,600 housing units acquired or built, 117,000 m² of offices acquired or built; 30,000 m² of leisure activities over the past 2 years. It aims to create responsible, sustainable, vibrant community spaces that contribute to the development of local communities and make people’s everyday lives more comfortable. In addition to its residential and multifunctional projects, Ceetrus Hungary Kft., the Hungarian subsidiary of Ceetrus is primarily involved in the management of Auchan Korzó.