London has retained its position as the most popular retail city in the world but now has to share the top spot with Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), new research has revealed.
Real estate company CB Richard Ellis’s (CBRE) 2011 edition of its How Global is the Business of Retail report also found that the UK is the world’s most international retail market for the fourth year running.
Despite the UK’s economy experiencing a stalling recovery from its recent recession, retail companies have continued it invest in the country, with 58 per cent of all international retail brands surveyed.
Of the 323 of the world’s top retailers surveyed for the report, 56 per cent have stores in London, the same number as Dubai, whilst 44.3 per cent are based in New York, 43.6 per cent in Paris and 40.6 per cent in Hong Kong.
Peter Gold, Head of EMEA Cross Border Retail at CBRE, 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 UAE is the second favourite retail market in the world with 54 per cent of top international retailers selling their products there, and the USA is in third with 50 per cent.
Europe continues to dominate the rankings for global retail markets, with the UK coming first ahead of France in fourth, then Spain and Germany, Russia in eighth and Italy in tenth.
Most global retailers are still focusing on international expansion with 40 per cent of new store openings of those surveyed happening outside of their home market last year, and US retailers grew their overseas footprint the most in 2010, expanding 2.6 per cent.
London has benefitted most from North American expansionism as 62.7 per cent of US retail respondents chose the UK’s capital as a place to open outlets.
Some 21 countries saw five or more new retailers enter their market last year but the overall pace of expansion slowed with the retail footprint growing just two per cent in 2010, compared to four per cent in 2009 and 12 per cent in 2008.
“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,” Gold added.
“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.”