On 30th November, the CityLife Shopping District will be inaugurated in Milan. It will be the largest urban shopping centre in Italy.
Lombardy seems not to have seen any issues in pursuing these "record malls", despite a crisis in the distribution format that has affected most of the world. After the Arese Shopping Center in April 2016 and the Scalo Milano in Locate di Triulzi (the record outlet that opened a year ago), the new mall will boast an area of 23 thousand square meters. And according to the promoters (Generali Real Estate and Sonae Sierra) negotiations have already been closed for 80% of the area.
CityLife Shopping District will be distributed over three floors that will host 100 fashion and design shops, 20 restaurants, a cinema with 7 rooms managed by Anteo (a real landmark for Milanese film buffs), a supermarket, and several spaces dedicated to wellbeing
There will be two prestigious debuts, just like Primark in Arese. One of the world's leading mobile operators, Huawei, will open a shop in Italy for the first time. It will also be a first
for DM-drogerie mark, a German group specialising in the distribution of beauty products, natural cosmetics and organic food: it boasts an international presence in thirteen European countries with 3,400 stores and around 60,000 employees, and says it is aiming for 40 new stores in Italy in 13 months.
The goal set for the CityLife Shopping District is to attract 6 million visitors within the third year. According to the company's estimates it can count on a catchment area of 700,000 people, half of Milan, but will have to contend with Piazza Portello, Finiper's shopping centre which includes a hypermarket
and a shopping gallery with 50 shops and 1,200 parking spaces. What is the distance between these two Milanese malls? Only one kilometre.
The new opening has rekindled debate on the irremediable conflict between large retailers and neighbourhood shops. And the battleground looks to be an urban one. First and second-generation shopping centres are now outdated, and extra-urban polarisation must be overcome. Ikea, for example, opened a large store in the centre of Hamburg. At the centre of the discussion is also land use, and there are proposals to penalise this in favour of re-purposing spaces which have already been built. The renovation of the Teatro Smeraldo in the centre of Milan, which will be turned into an Eataly store, paves the way.