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UK is number one target for global retailers

The United Kingdom is the world’s most international retail market for the fourth year running, while London holds onto its position as the most popular retail city in the world, according to the CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) 2011 edition of How Global is the Business of Retail?


UK is number one target for global retailers

CBRE’s fourth annual survey 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 and fewer new shopping centres making it more difficult for retailers to access prime space.

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 (UAE) with 54% of all retailers surveyed, and the US with 50%. Europe continues to dominate CBRE’s rankings of the most highly penetrated global retail markets, with the region’s largest five economies all featuring in the top 10: UK (1st), France (4th), Spain (5th), Germany, (6th), Russia (8th), and Italy (10th).

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 established markets of New York (44.3%), Paris (43.6%), and Hong Kong (40.6%) follow in the rankings and clearly still hold global pulling power. The composition of the rest of the top 20 comprises a mix of traditional and emerging markets providing an indication of how global the international retail business really is.

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.”

He continued, “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.”

The survey found that international expansion remains 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, some 21 countries saw five or more new retailer entrants last year.

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