Riga is sometimes called the capital of the Baltics, as it is the largest city in the Baltics region. It has also been described as “Little Paris,” because of its boulewards and atmosphere from the late 1920s and early 1930s. Riga has a long and winding history since it was first mentioned in 1201. It has been regarded as a crown jevel by several empires, but since 1991, once again, it is a capital of independent Latvia.
During the recession Riga was hit hard, but was the first among the Baltic states and fast to recover. The employment market has largely recovered and residential prices are increasing again. Many wealthy CIS business people have purchased residences in various upmarket locations in Riga, and their presence has also impacted the retail market. More international brands have recently opened their stores in the Latvian capital. In addition the increase in number of tourist visitors has also helped. Earlier in the year it was estimated that some 2 million are expected to visit Riga in 2014, each spending some 200 to 500 Euros per day.
Like all capital cities in the Baltic coutnries, for historic reasons Riga does not have a real shopping street in the city centre. There are some retail areas in the Old Town, around “Galerija Centrs” and along Valnu, Kalku and Audeju streets. There are upmarket shops on Elizabetes Street and islands of retail on Terbatas and K. Barona streets.
Modern retail development started did not really begin until 1991 and is now concentrated inside shopping centres.
The Central Market, partly housed in 5 zeppelin hangars from the Great War period (brought to Riga and adapted for market use in mid 1930s) remains popular. The main railaway station cum shopping centre “Origo” and STOCKMANN department store are attached to the Central Market.
OLD TOWN, CENTRAL MARKET AND CENTRAL STATION
Old Town (Vecriga) is an extensive collection of architecture and museums, dotted with boutique shops of different types, many small cozy hotels, cafes, pubs and restaurants. The recently reconstructed “Galleria Centrs” gives some retail scale and using the pedestrian subway the Central market and other retail schemes are close by.
“Golden Square” is more upmarket and a culturally more diverse annex of the Old Town. The perimeter of the area is defined by Raina boulevard, K. Valdemara street, Bruninieku Street and Chaka/Marijas Street. It is less interesting on the outer borders with such jewels as “Berga Bazars” almost hidden in the middle. Galleria Riga is located in this area. Elizabetes Street has a short stretch with several high end retailers, including Burberry and Armani.
ELKOR is kind of local retail phenomenon: undisputed market leader in white goods and electronics, on and off in convienence (upmarket) segment and frequently changing retail formats in shopping centres as well as stand alones. Just one location, further out eastwards by main (Brivibas) street, there are two department stores, both owned by the group and sharing same parking lot: ELKOR PLAZA department store for upper middle class range and PODIUM department store for luxury brands. The rumor has it that PODIUM might ocasionaly be closed for general public to provide individual shopping service for some VIP clients.
ALFA has also seen development over a number of phases and is earmarked for further extension (from 60,000 sqm to some 100,000 sqm). As SPICE dominates in the western part of Riga, so ALFA does the eastern part, including vast area outside Riga. For those living in the very large suburban areas a visit to Riga includes a visit to ALFA. There is a Multiplex gives and huge parking lots, which also operates as a Park & Ride (P&R) hub.
DOMINA SHOPPING was developed by Italian developers. It has a good fashion oriented tenant mix, with multi-storey car parks at both ends of the centre. DOMINA has so far the only M&S in Riga and H&M is coming soon.
RIGA PLAZA was opened in the height of recession (spring 2009). It was just 60% leased on the opening, but as of April 2014 it was almost 99% let, thanks to the recently opened H&M and H&M Home stores. The one and only P&C (Peek & Clopenburg) store in Latvia is in Riga Plaza and has weathered the hard times. The considerable leisure component as also helped to maintain the centre’s attractiveness to customers.
GALLERIA CENTRS was first opened as one of the first and most modern department stores in the Baltic and Nordic area in 1938. During the Soviet period it performed the functions of a department store. It was purchased by Norwegian developers and reconstructed in 2006. Today after a second reconstruction and extension, the shopping centre which incorporated Ridzene Street in the Old Town has some 140 shops and restaurants. It has retailers such as Tommy Hilfiger, List, Marco O’Polo, Gant, Gabor, Karen Millen and G-Star Raw.
SPICE and SPICE HOME
Spice & Spice HOME started in the late nineties as a hypermarket. Over several stages it has grown to two separate buildings (fashion and food in one, home related goods in other one) with a total GLA of about 60.000 sqm, and a status as the most popular shopping destination not only in Riga, but also in Latvia. Developed, owned and managed by an Estonian company, it is also popular among Estonians. Its proximity to Riga International airport also helps, as it is not possible to get to the city centre without passing SPICE. It has just added H&M and Debenhams. There are develpment plans to join both buildings to deal with the long waiting list of different tenants.
|SHOPPING CENTER TO WATCH OUT FOR|
|Center Name||AKROPOLE, RIGA|
|Total Size (Sq.m)||100,000|
|- Total GLA||60,000|
|- Leisure/Entertainment GLA||10,000|
|Planned Opening Date||2015/2016|
|Description||Mixed use (retail & offices) development with strong leisure segment (multiplex, ice rink, fitness, bowling, snooker, etc.). Excellent public transport connections, including its own railway station.|
Focus On AKROPOLE
AKROPOLE is being developed by Lithuania “Vilnius Prekyba” group, who already has successfully launched similar projects in Lithuania. AKROPOLE (AKROPOLIS in Lituanian) is meant to dominate retail scene of particular city. If completed as planned, it will considerably reshape the retail scene of Riga.
|KEY AREAS / STREETS/SHOPPING CENTERS||CONSUMER PROFILE||MAJOR RETAILERS PRESENT||NEW ENTRANTS||TYPICAL RENT FOR UNIT OF 2,000 SQFT (€/SQM/YEAR)*||RANGE OF UNIT SIZES (SQ.M)**|
|Old Town & Central Station||All + tourists||Stockmann||Aldo, Tally Weijl, Blue Ink||4000||20-1500|
|“Golden Square”||Upper middle + tourists||Armani, Burberry, Boss, Benetton||Baldinini||5000||20-800|
|GALLERIA CENTRS||Upper middle + tourists||H&M, Gant||Calvn Klein, Christian Berg||3000||20-800|
|GALLERIA RIGA||General||Suit Supply, Piazza Italia, Cortifiel||Moskito||4000||20-1000|
|RIGA PLAZA||General||P&C, Inditex, Mango||H&M, H&M Home||2500||20-3000|
|SPICE & SPICE HOME||General||Next, Tomy Hilfiger, Inditex, Benetton||H&M, Debenhams||5000||20-4000|
|DOMINA||General||M&S, Bata, Benetton||H&M||3000||20-2000|
Data as of June 2014
Between the wars Riga had a reputation as Little Paris, not only because of the ambiance, but also for its very multicultured resatuarant scene. Riga has been trying to regain this over the last 25 years.
The F&B market in Riga is small and restaurants come and go. Over the last few years there have been some signs of stabilization. There is just one iconic restaurant (Vincents, led by UK born Latvian chef Martins Ritins) which was established in the mid 1990s.
In general, the best restaurants, bars and cafes are concentrated in the Old Town, “Golden Square” and in an upmarket district, so called “The Calm Centre”, just north of “Golden Square”. The summer roof terrace of “Galleria Riga” is not to be missed.
At weekends there is a slow food market at Kalnciema kvartals, a restored island of wooden architecture of late XIX / early XX century.
For international delicacies the “Gastronome” shops cum restaurants such as one outlet on the ground floor of “Radissona BLU Hotel Latvia” and another one in “mc²” retail complex on Krasta Street are worth exploring.
International brands have entered the Latvian market, including McDonald’s, Hesburger (Finland), Costa Coffee, McCafe and TGI Friday’s.
|KEY AREAS||CONSUMER PROFILE||FOOD & BEVERAGE OPERATOR INCLUDING||RENT FOR 300-350 SQM UNIT|
|Old Town||General, upmarket, tourists||Locals (mainly one-off)||7,500|
|“Golden square”||Upmarket, tourists||Locals (mainly one-off)||6,000|
|“The Calm Centre”||Upmarket, tourists||Locals (mainly one-off)||9,000|
|Central Market||General, tourists||Locals (mainly one-off)||2,000|
|Kalnciema kvartals||Arty, eco, tourists||Locals (mainly one-off)||2,000|
|Andrejosta||Trendy, tourists||Locals (mainly one-off)||2,500|
|Galleria Riga||Trendy, tourists||Locals (mainly one-off)||5,000|
|Shopping centres in general||General||Locals (mainly one-off)||3,500|
Data as of June 2014
MARIS J. OGAConsultant, CRE/RRE projects
Latio LLP (Baltic partner for Cushman and Wakefield)
8 K. Valdemara Street
Riga LV-1010 LATVIA
Tel: +371 67 032 300
Mob: +371 292 111 40