From Bazar to Mall in Turkey in 30 years

Authors: Herman Kok*, Meyer Bergman
Topics: Business Geography, Urban Geography, Economic Geography
Keywords: retail, mall, development, Turkey
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Stones Throw 3 - Mica, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Turkey's first shopping mall, Galleria in Istanbul, modelled after the famous Galleria in Houston, opened in 1988. This was the starting point of an evolution of Turkey's retail landscape from a traditional bazaar and highstreet dominated structure into a model in which shopping malls have a strong position. Initially mainly for higher class consumers, but increasingly targeting middle class and lower middle class consumers in later stages. Whereas developments initially took place in the largest cities like Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, the development of malls gradually spread through larger and mid size cities throughout the country. Main contributors to this process were an economic growth model strongly relying on real estate development, and a rapid professionalisation in the retail sector leading to the establishment of numerous chains . Globalisation in general, and the initiation of EU membership negotiations in 2004, led to a significant inflow of foreign capital and knowledge, further accelerating the process of mall development. The 2008 global crisis led to a halt of the inflow of foreign capital, while domestic capital sources grew in power. The shift of Turkey's of political system into illiberalism led to economic policies relying strongly on consumption as driver of growth. Shopping malls became a symbol of progress, and was supported by the government. The events around Gezi in Istanbul in 2013 were partly triggered by a proposed mall project on Istanbuls main square. However, signs of oversupply become visible in the market.

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