London claims top spot in Europe for new retailer expansion

Retail brands continued to expand in 2017 across a wide range of cities globally indicating that the physical store remains fundamental to retailers’ omnichannel strategies, and is increasingly important for retailer success in international markets. CBRE’s annual report, How Global is the Business of Retail, identifies 123 cities which had at least one new global retail brand open for the first time, 41% of which targeted more than one city.

Reinforcing its global appeal, London claimed the top spot in 2017 as the most targeted city for new retail entrants in Europe. The U.K. capital saw 49 new retail entrants in 2017, placing it fourth globally following Hong Kong, Dubai, and Taipei.  And despite uncertainty surrounding Britain’s decision to leave the EU, the U.K. ranked third overall for new retail entrants (54) preceded by Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates.

Major brands to open their doors in the London last year include Canada Goose, Sonos, Reserved and Arket. Food & Beverage (F&B) and luxury brands were the biggest drivers of new store openings in London, accounting for 33 of the new entrants, 40% of which came from Asia Pacific brands. Globally, the F&B category accounted for 25% of new market entrants last year, up 17% from 2016. Activity in F&B sector has been driven by the shifting consumer preference for experiential retailing which has been a key driver of expansion as landlords continue to diversify their tenant mix with more experience-orientated brands.

Michael Horwitz, head of central London Retail at CBRE commented: “The retail sector is witnessing a massive transformation due to the growth of e-commerce and a shift in consumer habits. However, the physical store remains a key element in retailers’ success. London’s innovative nature and access to international consumers creates an ideal environment for retailers looking to expand into the global market. We welcomed some great new brands in 2017, and are set to see some exciting entrants in the year ahead.”