London again most popular market for retailers


UK capital city London has regained its position as the world‘s most targeted centre by international retailers, a report released today claims.

Property firm CBRE has published the findings of its annual ‘How Global is the Business of Retail‘ report which has found that 55.6 per cent of the 326 top retail companies across the globe have a presence in the city.

Last year London shared top spot in the survey with United Arab Emirates (UAE) state Dubai, but the oil rich area has dropped behind London this year with only 53.8 per cent of the top brands present.

Britain is once again the most popular country for retailers, hosting 56.7 per cent of the world‘s top traders, followed by the UAE (53.1 per cent), the US (50.3 per cent) and then Spain (47.5 per cent).

Peter Gold, Head of EMEA Cross Border Retail at CBRE, commented: “In the face of ongoing economic uncertainty, which looks set to remain a factor throughout 2012, retailers have responded by seeking to de-risk their expansion activities, generally choosing markets like the UK that are regarded as safe havens.

“London is generally the first port of call for global retailers, but once they have established a presence in the capital, they are willing to extend their reach into other major UK cities, as well as major regional shopping centres such as Trafford Park, Meadowhall and Bluewater.”

In spite of the challenging consumer environment seen in many of the world‘s leading economies, the overall global footprint of retailers grew by 2.1 per cent on last year and 74 per cent of the countries surveyed by CBRE saw at least one new retailer enter their market during 2011.

North American retailers were the most likely to target foreign markets over the last year with 73 per cent of the businesses polled being present in EMEA, Asia and the Americas, while London was their favourite city with 64.7 per cent of them operating at least one store there.

Gold continued: “The trend for US fashion retailers making strategic advances into the UK continued in 2011, building on the highly successful entries of several major US brands in recent years.

“This is largely because the US retail market is saturated and the language and cultural characteristics shared with the UK make establishing a brand and merchandising a store easier than in other European markets.”