SES shopping malls proved extremely popular in 2022 and brick-and-mortar retailers regained a foothold. The gross sales turnover of a total of 1,800 shops located on the 30 SES Spar European Shopping Center sites in Austria, Slovenia, Italy, Hungary, Croatia, and the Czech Republic continued to grow in the past year. With sales up 18.5 percent and a 3.1 billion euros turnover compared to 2021, SES enjoyed a record year in terms of development since its inception in 2007. SES Centers in the key Austrian market also topped their 2019 turnover, displaying better development than the sector per se*. The 17.6 percent increase in footfall, amounting to over 100 million visitors, almost reached pre-pandemic levels. In 2022, SES invested in numerous sustainable measures such as large-scale installation of photovoltaic systems and the ongoing interim expansion of e-charging stations, currently amounting to 175 charging points coupled with extensive LED retrofitting.
*Source: Statistik Austria: 8,1 Prozent nominelle Umsatzsteigerung Einzelhandel Österreich (ohne Kfz) 2022 [Statistics Austria: 8.1 percent nominal increase in retail sales turnover for Austria (excluding motor vehicles)]
As Austria’s leading shopping center operator, SES manages a total of 30 major shopping destinations in six countries including 27 shopping malls, two retail parks and one managed shopping street covering 830,000 square meters of leased space in the Austrian, Slovenian, Croatian, Northern Italian, Hungarian and Czech markets.
With footfall up to the summer still averaging 20 percent below the previous year’s figures, SES documented particularly positive trends in terms of footfall and turnover in all malls in six countries from September onwards.
Marcus Wild: “Success based on partnerships”
Marcus Wild, SPAR Real Estate Board Member and SES Board Chairman: “2022 proved to be a challenging year from an economic perspective with Covid, a war plus an energy crisis, and yet, brick-and-mortar retail in SES shopping centers came out on top. Consumers did not stay online but chose to go out and meet people in our vibrant SES centers. The SES partnership comprising retailers, restaurateurs and the center management team once again managed this to perfection. That is why SES received top marks from retailers yet again, culminating in our pole position in 2022”.
Christoph Andexlinger, CEO of SES Spar European Shopping Centers:
“We attribute the above-average development of our malls to two factors. Alongside our retail partners, we focused once again on our customers in 2022. In addition to the shopper experience, we wanted to highlight what our shopping venues could offer in terms of services. We are also investing in on-site construction, focusing primarily on measures that significantly promote sustainability, especially energy efficiency, both of which are particularly relevant to our visitors.”
SES: Austria’s market leader
The sales turnover of retail partners in the key market, Austria, increased by 17.5 percent in the past year and by 5 percent compared to 2019. Amounting to over 2 billion euros, just under two-thirds of the total turnover are generated in the Austrian SES stores. Overall, all Austrian malls also topped their 2019 sales figures. SES operates 16 shopping malls and one retail park, and manages one shopping street in this country.
Austria’s top centers: The SES malls that generated the highest growth in terms of turnover in 2022 compared to 2021 were FISCHAPARK Wiener Neustadt (+25%), EUROPARK Salzburg (+22%), ATRIO Villach (+20%), SILLPARK Innsbruck (+19%) and ZIMBAPARK Bludenz-Bürs (+18%).
WEBERZEILE Ried, Q19 Wien, FISCHAPARK Wiener Neustadt, MARIANDL Krems and VARENA Vöcklabruck recorded the best results since their inception in terms of footfall and retail partner turnover.
Boasting a turnover of 353 million euros and over 10 million customers, EUROPARK Salzburg remained the undisputed SES Group leader for both footfall and turnover in 2022.
SES in Slovenia
Alongside Austria, SES is also the market leader for large-scale shopping centers in Slovenia. The country’s five SES malls recorded sales of over 660 million euros in 2022, culminating in a 20 percent increase in turnover compared to 2021. Over 23 million people visited Slovenia’s SES malls. The ALEJA multi-purpose shopping mall was nominated as a finalist in the International ECSP Design and Development Awards in 2022, which will be presented in Milan/Italy in May 2023. The mall was able to open in 2020 despite adverse circumstances surrounding the pandemic.
SES in Hungary: With its two Hungarian sites, namely S-PARK, which opened in 2021 as a modern retail park in the district town of Kaposvár, and the KORZÓ shopping center close to the Ukrainian border, SES generated a 30 percent increase in sales last year compared to 2021 figures. Both sites have an overall footfall of approximately 4 million visitors each year.
SES in Italy, Croatia, and the Czech Republic: The sales turnover of the three SES shopping malls in Northern Italy witnessed growth of 8.9 percent last year. KING CROSS Zagreb in Croatia and EUROPARK Prague in the Czech Republic also boosted sales by +4.3 percent and +6.4 percent, respectively, compared to 2021.
Shopping vouchers worth 46 million euros sold
Sales of the SES shopping vouchers, “Der ZEHNER” (meaning “ten” in German) in Austria, and “Desetak” (meaning “ten” in Slovenian) in Slovenia, which can be redeemed across centers, remained stable and at high levels in 2022. Vouchers totaling 46 million euros were sold. Center visitor service sales increased by 5.1 percent. Sales to corporate customers reverted to normal following the boom of the past two years, after a rise in the number of staff Christmas parties.
Top brands and flagship stores choose top locations
SES locations grew in regional importance and popularity with the advent of new stores. Representatives of the textile, gastronomy, shoe, decoration, perfumery, and service sectors opened their doors across the malls. Trendy young fashion was particularly popular and expanded on the SES sites alongside opticians and lingerie stores. Low-cost concepts are continuing to gain ground. Around 50 new shops have been opened in Austria alone, including a state-of-the-art Lego store in MURPARK Graz, the Italian restaurant, Casa Cavalli, in EUROPARK Salzburg, Blue Tomato in FISCHAPARK and major Deichmann stores in ATRIO Villach and MAX.CENTER Wels. The off-price retailer, TK Maxx, opened its first Carinthia store in ATRIO Villach and its first store for the city of Graz in MURPARK. LEVI’s brand stores were newcomers to the shop mix in the ZIMBAPARK Bludenz-Bürs and VARENA Vöcklabruck centers while s.Oliver set up shop in HUMA ELEVEN Vienna. Many shop operators invested in refurbishments and relaunches.
MediaMarkt and Zara flagship stores opt for SES
The consolidation of market brands is continuing. In 2022, international concepts decided to open their exclusive flagship stores in malls managed by SES. For instance, Austria’s first MediaMarkt LightHouse has been launched in GERNGROSS Vienna while Zara doubled its EUROPARK Salzburg store to become the flagship store for the entire region, offering a wide range of products and innovative services. Last but not least, HUGO + BOSS opened exclusively mono-brand stores at EUROPARK Maribor in Slovenia.
Rise in center events
SES centers proudly showcased numerous event highlights alongside many popular traditional events over the last 12 months, ranging from the exhibition to celebrate Banksy, the world’s most famous street artist, at CITYPARK Graz and the Art History Museum in EUROPARK Salzburg to the Coca-Cola Christmas truck tour stop at HUMA ELEVEN Vienna. Overall, there were more center marketing activities once the mask-wearing requirement was lifted. Such events prompted cooperation with schools, associations and communities including the Children’s Art Project involving 700 pupils in SILLPARK Innsbruck, holiday care provision in collaboration with “Ferienspiel Krems” in MARIANDL and the Blue Light Day in WEBERZEILE Ried.
The eight PLANET LOLLIPOP children’s adventure worlds in the Austrian and Slovenian SES malls welcomed approximately 200,000 young guests. Just under 4,500 children’s birthday parties were also held at these venues.
CEO Andexlinger: “We need to invest in vibrant living spaces”
SES is constantly investing in its centers in a bid to offer high-quality customer experiences. The surrounding areas are increasingly being incorporated and centers are opening up to the outside world from a structural perspective. For instance, in 2022, SES invested in a newly designed forecourt with comfortable seating and an attractive garden for the gastronomy sector at ZIMBAPARK Bludenz-Bürs, Vorarlberg. The quality of the FORUM 1 Salzburg customer experience also reached new heights thanks to elegant design features and sustainable greenery.
35 million euros earmarked for maintenance, modernization and sustainability
SES is also keeping its centers fit for future purpose in terms of energy. In 2022, it invested over 35 million euros in maintenance, conversions and energy-reducing measures. Extensive LED retrofitting continued in the malls, on facades, in underground garages and in parking lots including MURPARK Graz, VARENA Vöcklabruck, ZIMBAPARK Bludenz-Bürs, EUROPARK Salzburg and SILLPARK Innsbruck. In concrete terms, this amounts to electricity savings of over 1.45 million kWh per year, equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of almost 600 single-family homes.
Climate strategy: Rapid expansion of photovoltaic panel installation in our centers
Two further centers managed by SES installed photovoltaic panels on their roofs in 2022. Since June 2022, 2,000 square meters of photovoltaic panels at MARIANDL Krems have been producing electricity covering around 20 percent of the center’s own energy requirements. The large-scale system covering 3,900 square meters at CITYPARK Graz has also been up and running since November and covers around 25 percent of the annual energy requirement. To date, a total of four centers under SES management are operating their own photovoltaic systems.
Another ten PV systems are to be installed on SES shopping center roofs in 2023, covering a total area of over 30,000 square meters, including VARENA Vöcklabruck, ATRIO Villach and MAX.CENTER in Austria. PV panels are currently being installed on all five malls in Slovenia. The LE BRENTELLE center Padua/Italy will also use its own solar power from April with the IPERCITY center already scheduled for installation in 2023. The total area covered by the ten additional systems is equivalent to the size of more than four football pitches.
SES also uses alternative energy sources on its other sites. SILLPARK Innsbruck operates its own hydraulic power station. Since 1990, it has been producing more than four million kWh of electricity annually, thus covering over 50 percent of the mall’s own needs.
Energy management system extended to Slovenia and Italy
Since 2019, SES has been operating an energy management system in Austria in accordance with ISO 50001:2018, which was successfully recertified by TÜV AUSTRIA (testing, inspection, and certification company) in 2022. At the same time, SES was able to roll out the energy management system to all SES shopping venues in Slovenia and Italy and obtain TÜV AUSTRIA certification for the malls in these countries.
Modern e-mobility for all centers and 100% green electricity
As the SPAR Group’s real estate specialist, SES devised a strategy for the charging infrastructure at SPAR, EUROSPAR, INTERSPAR and MAXIMARKT locations in 2022. The strategy will be successively rolled out to all countries within the group. SES per se has been operating e-charging stations at all its venues since 2011. It converted its e-filling station network to a payment system in 2022. Additional charging points will be installed in 2023.
Preparing to apply taxonomy criteria in 2025
As a developer, builder and operator of retail properties, SES has been committed to making an even greater contribution to climate protection through sustainable property development for many years. SES in conjunction with its partner companies, is therefore taking sound steps in readiness for the application of taxonomy criteria to the planning, construction, and operational sectors. These strategies range from further CO2 reduction to the circular economy. According to the EU Taxonomy Regulation, which came into force in June 2020, all economic activities must be assessed for their environmental sustainability performance in future.
Investing 110 million euros in the future
Approximately 110 million euros have also been earmarked for maintenance, sustainability, project developments and mall refurbishments in Austria and abroad during 2023. The focus is on local supply, the quality of meeting points and the ongoing development of existing centers to make them multi-purpose venues. The operator also has further expansion plans for new, high-quality retail park projects in Slovenia and Croatia.
Hotel construction started in Lienz in 2022 as part of the plans for the future city-center shopping quarter. Construction work has been ongoing in the heart of Lienz since August and is on schedule.
As a retail partner in the joint venture with the City of Vienna, SES is continuing to develop the managed shopping street in the “aspern Seestadt Vienna” towards the north. This managed shopping street currently comprises 30 retail, gastronomy and service businesses covering 8,000 square meters of gross leasable area (GLA).
SES receives three awards
SES was also the proud recipient of several awards in 2022. The partnership-based approach of SES in discussions with tenants was highlighted in the 2022 ecostra Shopping Center Performance Report. SES ranked number one in the best-performing Austrian mall operator stakes while MURPARK in Graz was rated as the best shopping center in Styria. SES was also presented with two awards at the ECSP Solal Marketing Awards in the autumn of 2022. The winning projects were the business initiative, yip.at, and the SES-managed CITYPARK Graz, which was recognized by an international panel of judges for its impressive street art exhibition entitled “The Mystery of Banksy”.
Regional economic driving force and a thriving workplace for 18,000 individuals
Four hundred and nine (409) employees in six European countries manage the day-to-day running of SES – from development through operations to organization. A 100-strong team is employed at the Salzburg-Kasern headquarters. SES shopping venues in six European countries employ approximately 18,000 individuals from the retail, gastronomy, and service sectors.