The UK has been crowned the most popular destination for retailers looking to expand their store presence in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) in 2017.
According to new research from global property advisor CBRE, 65 per cent of retailers surveyed cited the UK as their target market for expansion.
The core markets of Western Europe are identified as retailers’ most popular destinations for expanding their store network in 2017, despite the political and economic and political uncertainty across the continent — such as Brexit in the UK and the rise of the far right in the upcoming French Presidential elections.
The UK leads the way as the most attractive retail market, followed by France (43 per cent) Germany (38 per cent), United Arab Emirates (24 per cent) and Spain, Netherlands and Hungary (tied at 19 per cent) rounding out the top five.
CBRE’s How Active are Retailers in EMEA? report also found that 51 per cent of international retailers surveyed intend to open up to five stores across EMEA by the end of 2017.
However, the amount of retailers with large-scale expansion plans in 2017 is set to slow down with 70 per cent indicating that they only expect to open 10 stores or less, reflecting a more cautious approach to their growth plans.
Street shops and regional shopping centres remain the most popular formats for expansion with over 80 per cent of retailers choosing these methods of growth.
CBRE also found that 57 per cent of retailers said the biggest concerns for expansion in 2017 are real estate cost escalation, followed by lack of quality retail space (51 per cent).
The survey also revealed that 81 per cent of the retailers believe the growth of online retail will not deter from their physical store expansion plans in Europe.
A small number of retailers also believe that changes in consumer shopping will allow them to generate the same level of sales with fewer stores.