Galleria Stara Zagora Establishes as Leading Mall in Challenging Times



Galleria Stara Zagora was the first project in Bulgaria of Globe Trade Center, the leading commercial real estate developer in Central and Eastern Europe. Started in 2007, similarly to all existing developments it suffered the effects of the economic downturn. However, decision was made to proceed with the project and with common efforts of GTC and Forton as leasing agent it opened in 2010 with over 75% occupancy and to date remains the most successful shopping center in Stara Zagora, attracting both international and local brands.

The Challenge

Galleria Stara Zagora faced multiple challenges. On the one hand, Bulgaria suffered a deep recession in 2009 and consumer spending was slow to recover thereafter. On the other hand, the competition in the city of Stara Zagora was very intense with another operational project, where existing tenants were bound by long-term non-breakable contracts. To make matters more complicated two more projects were opening in Sofia, which distracted the attention and resources of retailers.
That, along with the difficulties that other shopping centers had in the province and the relatively low disposable income of the local population, was a huge challenge for developers and consultants alike.

The Solution

Our consultancy team provided market overview and feasibility study, which included an overview of the market and a realistic assessment of the development.
Shortly after that the leasing team designed tenant mix which focused on the gaps on the market and on bringing in appropriate retailers with regards to purchasing power and competition. Forton engaged in active marketing efforts to raise the awareness of the project and led the negotiations on commercial terms.
Marketing and publicity were crucial during the leasing process, in part to overcome the lack of confidence regarding new projects.
Post-opening leasing was backed by additional research to further adjust the tenant mix concept and maximize income.

The Result

Galleria Stara Zagora opened with 75% occupancy and a number of international brands like Zara, Bershka, Pull & Bear, Stradivarius, H&M, NewYorker, etc. It provided balanced and diversified merchandise mix and was the preferred facilitated the first-time access of international retailers to a large regional market. In the following years Galleria Stara Zagora established as the dominant shopping center in the region and showed consistent improvements of performance as measured by footfall and turnover rates. Forton helped readjust the mix by securing additional prominent tenants such as Levi’s, Adidas, Skiny and Hippoland.