The paper highlights current and foreseeable developments of online retail and its impact on retailers in general, retail real estate and shopping centers in particular, and on city centers as traditional core retail and trading areas of European towns.

In its first part, the paper looks at the quantitive development of online retail and some qualitative aspects linked with such development.

Then, main challenges resulting from e-commerce for brick-and mortar retailers will be analysed, including its repercussions on retail real estate in general and shopping centers in particular. 

Finally, potential impacts on urban retail structures in European towns will be studied. According to current knowledge and research, there are some signs that the core retail areas of metropolises will profit from e-commerce developments and continue to flourish whereas non-AAA towns and locatíons will (furtheron) face hard times. Therefore, e-commerce also produces new challenges also for urban planners and real estate proprietors. 

The paper is based on extensive analysis of literature and current research, but also on the author's long years of experience in urban economic development, retail real estate and shopping center development and operation.