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London holds on to its position as the world's most popular retail city

A new report has revealed that the UK has achieved top ranking as the world’s most international retail market for the fourth year running, with London retaining its position as the most popular retail city in the world.


London holds on to its position as the world's most popular retail city

The 2011 edition of How Global is the Business of Retail? by global real estate adviser CB Richard Ellis, mapped the global footprint of 323 of the world’s top retailers across 73 countries to identify trends in global retail expansion at national and local level.

The report found that although the global economy pulled out of recession in 2010, it remains a challenging time for retailers, with consumer spending subdued in many markets. Furthermore it was difficult for retailers to access prime space with fewer new shopping centres being built.

The UK maintained the number one position in the top 20 most global retail markets, attracting 58% of all international retail brands surveyed, with consumer spending growth of approximately 1.5%. The UK was closely followed by the United Arab Emirates with 54% of all retailers surveyed, and the US with 50%.

London retained its position as the most popular retail city in the world, attracting more than half (56%) of all international retail brands surveyed; however, it now shares the top position with Dubai. The UK and Dubai were followed by New York at 44.3%, Paris at 43.6%, and Hong Kong at 40.6%. The remaining top 20 came from a mix of traditional and emerging markets.

Peter Gold, head of EMEA Cross Border Retail, CB Richard Ellis, commented: “The UK consistently attracts new international retailers due to the strength of the consumer sector and the high turnover levels that can be achieved. London is a particular target and this proved to be the case again in 2010, in spite of a difficult economic environment. The weakness of the pound against other countries helped to attract new retailers and more shoppers to the capital last year, with some 200 million shoppers visiting the West End.”

The report showed that international expansion remained a key strategy for retailers throughout the world, with 40% of new openings occurring outside the retailer’s home region. Even though the pace of expansion has slowed, with the overall footprint increasing by 2% compared with 4% in 2009 and 12% in 2008, 21 countries saw five or more new retailer entrants last year.

Peter Gold commented: “Although the pace of growth slowed in 2010, retailers continue to grow their store networks in a wide range of international markets, targeting both mature and emerging countries. While it is clear that the globalisation process is ongoing, two factors will limit the rate at which retailers expand in coming years. Firstly, a limited pipeline of new space in many markets will restrict access to prime retail locations, and as a result, more retailers may look to grow their business via online platforms rather than expanding their physical store network.”

Retailers from North America expanded their global markets the most, growing their footprint by 2.6% on average, while European and Asia Pacific retailers both grew by 1.8%. London is the top global target for North American retailers, with some 62.7% present in the capital city, just ahead of Dubai (61.2%).

Peter Gold added: “In the same way that Dubai is a market entry point for retailers in the Middle East, London is often the first port of call in Europe. However, it is not the only UK target with Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol all featuring in the top 10. Aside from the obvious advantage of sharing the same language, US retailers are attracted to the high spend per head figures and the ability to access high quality retail provision in the prime areas of major cities.

“Remarkably, London is also one of only two cities outside Asia where more than 10% of Asian retailers have a presence. This reflects the fact that most Asian retailers have yet to leave their own region where there are still phenomenal growth opportunities available in their domestic markets.”

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