This morning hundreds of shoppers flocked to the opening of Wrocław's new shopping mall, named Wrocłavia.
Spurred by the prospect of special one-off promotions, shoppers reportedly queued up in front of the shopping centre well before opening time this morning.
Many of those who waited in line headed straight for electronic shops such Media Markt and Media Expert. The former store are offering cut-priced Samsung LED tvs for 1,999zł (down from the rrp of 3199zł). Crowds also formed at H&M, which offered a 50zł voucher for the first 50 customers, as well as 20% off any purchases over 150zł.
The ultra-modern shopping centre has room for 2,300 parking spaces and 181 shops. On top of that, the mall boasts an IMAX cinema with a whopping 20 screens.
Parking throughout the opening weekend at Wroclavia will be free. However from Monday only the first hour is free of charge. After the 60 minutes have elapsed, shoppers will have to pay an extra 4zł for each hour or 50zł for an entire day.
Almost 20% of the Wroclavia centre is dedicated to leisure and entertainment. This includes the cinema, a wide array of restauants, a gym and a "green terrace" on the roof. The centre will also be home to Wrocław's new bus station, which is set to open next month.
The investors believe the mall will employ around 1,500 people and have a footfall of 13 million people per year. The shopping centre is expected to do well given the success of other malls located next to major train and bus stations.
Other shopping centres in the Wrocław are already braced for the impact of the Wroclavia centre; both Arkady and Sky Tower have recently made changes in order to deal with the extra competition. This comes as no surprise given the sheer amount of retail space in Wrocław.
According to a report by Cushman & Wakefield Commercial Real Estate Brokers, the arrival of Wrocłavia has made Wrocław Europe's retail capital. This is due to the fact that the city has 900 square metres of retail space per 1000 inhabitants. This is more than anywhere else in Europe and approximately 4 times higher than in London.
With the shopping mall now open, Wrocław can now finally observe how influential the "Wrocłavia effect" is going to be. Some forecasters believe the new mall could not only steal market share from Arkady, but also the likes of Galeria Dominikanska. Naturally, only time will tell if that turns out to be the case.
The traffic situation is another area of concern; Wrocław's city centre already has Poland's slowest moving traffic. The arrival of Wrocłavia is predicted to make matters worse – despite the improvements made to the streets around the mall.
You can see a full list of shops, services and attractions in the Wroclavia centre via this link.