It’s Sunday afternoon and I feel bothered for no groundbreaking reason actually. Well, it’s October 7th, sunny, +27 degrees, and stupidly enough I’m not taking advantage of Mother Nature’s generosity with these exceptional late summer days. But instead of laying on a beach chair or simply spending time with friends I’m caught by this lame state of being. Crumbling in dissatisfaction and pre-Monday stress I have this super dangerous buying desire that I can’t gratify unless I go shopping. But where actually!!! In the Block area, M. Shyri Street gets tricky with the parking.
Tirana has quite some nice shopping areas and centers. The newest one is Tirana East Gate (TEG),which is the bigger version of the oldest one, QTU.There are quite some popular shops I prefer like Mango, Koton, Motivi, Springfield, Cortefiel, Esprit, etc. Also activities and attraction for little children are not missing. I once even took a train ride with my little nephew in TEG. The super fancy shops and entertaining areas of Citypark, Coin, and ETC certainly don’t fall behind. Therefore, quite some shopping choices in this fast growing retail market targeting different income groups are already in place.
In addition to existing shopping centers spread throughout the city, a new Tirana Business Park facility is being built on the way to Rinas airport. As well Toptani Shopping Center which lays in the heart of Tirana is expected to finish by 2013.
For future nostalgic reasons I decided to take some snapshots of yet non-occupied land closed to Rinas area. In a couple of years these landscapes will be simply nonexistent with current development rhythms. But this is another issue.
But what makes this investment scene so vibrant in light of increased competition in retail market and newly build shopping centers in the outskirts of the capital? Despite the negative trickle down effects of the European crisis, the Albanian economy indicates still growth though at lower levels. Other favorable conditions contributing to these ongoing investments refer to increased demand for goods and services. The migration of population from rural toward urban areas is still present. Car ownership continues to grow, as well as improvements to road infrastructure. All these factors make Tirana a target for investors. The new highway connecting Kosovo to Albania in less then 3 hours potentially adds on to the purchasing power. So does the relocation of many emigrants “escaping” the economic turmoils in neighboring countries. All these combined with limited shopping space in the inner city creates good prospects for capital investments in retail.
As for myself, unfortunately I still use any possibility I have to shop abroad. I’m not quite satisfied with what I’m offered in terms of “products’ quality and prices”. Being in consumers’s shoes is rather difficult to find a balance between product quality and competitive prices. It is definitely not a shopping paradise. Even at seasonal sales and discounts, there’s a shortage of spiced up collections or choices at decent price levels. For the time being is difficult to find retail stores like Zara, H&M, Bershka, Promod that maintain a cost advantage to their competitors in their marketing activities. It’s great to invest in new shopping facilities and building up a sophisticated shopping culture, but the biggest challenge for many retailers out there will be maintaining business sustainability through calibrating their competitive advantages relative to their peers.