12° Nicosia,
25 May, 2024

Makarios Avenue struggles to fulfill commercial expectations

Challenges, optimism, and the quest for identity of Nicosia's premier shopping street

Maria Eracleous

Maria Eracleous

Two years after the official opening of Makarios Avenue (8 December 2021), the commercial success of the street has fallen short of expectations, especially for businesses that invested in the area. Businessmen in the area report that sales on Makarios are six times lower than those in shopping centers. For instance, last Saturday, although people visited Makarios, sales were lower than in 2021, according to local businessmen.

At a time when both traffic and sales are unsatisfactory, the high rents are a major hindrance to the viability of businesses on the avenue. Some shops are reportedly preparing to close by the end of January, while others are revising their plans for the shopping street. On a positive note, business owners in the 360 building express optimism with two new openings in the next few months—Haagen Dazs and a restaurant on the top floor of the high-rise building. Some argue that to restore Makarios to its former glory, it needs to reposition itself with a more specific identity and engage in targeted promotional efforts.

The Christmas period, considered ideal for attracting the public to the city center, requires the right promotion and timing. Some shopkeepers criticize the city's delay in planning Christmas events, which were not at the levels of previous years before the closure of Makarios.Last Saturday, people visited Makariou, however, sales were lower than those of 2021.

To enhance Makarios, some suggest operating it in combination with Stasikratus, offering premium products like luxury clothing to attract a different audience. Marios Loukaidis, founder of Sympraxis Management Services, believes Makarios can be upgraded over time with a specific identity, and its recovery will also depend on the overall upgrading of Nicosia's historic center.

George Chrysochos, CEO of Cyfield, the owner of the 360 building, expresses optimism for increased footfall and sales. He notes the conditions are favorable with the Makarios facelift, catering openings, and the growth of the city center population. However, he suggests that the data for Makarios would have been significantly better if the stores had opened when the street reopened, rather than a year later.

Accessibility remains a significant issue for Makarios' recovery. Market sources report that currently, Makarios is neither a pedestrian street nor a one-way street, with several vehicles entering the avenue, and the lack of parking spaces is a major drawback. In contrast, Stasikratous presents a different picture—it is open to vehicles and has two parking spaces.

The arrival of the NYX Nicosia hotel at the location of the former Laiki building on Makarios Avenue is expected to boost traffic in the center. However, work on the €30 million investment has been delayed due to the pandemic, other priority investments, and the war in Israel. While the project is expected to move forward, the exact start date remains uncertain.

December shows strength in the retail sector, historically the most lucrative month for entrepreneurs. Footfall and sales, particularly in shopping centers, are satisfactory in contrast to the challenging performance seen in October and November. The clothing and footwear sector, which faced difficulties attributed to weather conditions, has seen an improvement in sales as temperatures dropped, and the peak is expected in December. There is even an estimate that this year's Christmas shopping performance will surpass last year's.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

Cyprus  |  economy  |  business  |  Christmas

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