Malmö City is Swedens third biggest city. Together with the communities that surrounds the city it is some half million people making the market for shopping centres. The city of Malmö has over the years taken a restrictive attitude towards shopping centres.
Not any more.
At present four projects are on their way to completion. In this week a 160 store centre called Emporia opens in the windy fields south of Malmö. The developers are Klepierre/ABN via their local company Steen&Ström.
On June 4th I wrote an article in the local daily where I pointed to the future competition of Emporia and its consequences for the surrounding smaller villages and centres. Now The Swedish Trade organisation has responded in the same paper rejecting the alleged threat.
– New shopping centres are opened and existing centres are refurbished to meet the demands of the consumers.
I do not think there are many consumers demanding a colossal shopping centre like Emporia. On the contrary – the demand comes from investors like Klépierre who wants to add another centre to the 271 centres they already have. It is investments of pension capital that is driving the business.
The MD of Swedish Trade org and his local representative do not look upon it that way. Their advise to the small centres that risk becoming extinguished in the surrounding areas is to ask themselves what their possibilities are in the competition.
We will soon find out.
The article by the Swedish Trade is also claiming that the retail trade is the new growth engine for the region together with the tourist industry. As if low wage jobs in retail and tourism should represent a growth engine!
The Swedish Trade Org. was during the 1970s strongly opposed to shopping centres and gallerias. And in the 1930s they fought against department stores, organising blockades.
Today things are different. A daughter company to Swedish Trade, a research institute called HUI, are making most of the studies as part of the planning processes. A legitimizing process you might say. I never saw in these studies any substantial discussion of the effects on the built environment or city planning. The Swedish Trade org is the custodian of shopping centres.