The UK has maintained its position as the world's most international retail market, according to the new edition of the How Global is the Business of Retail? Attracting 58% of all international retail brands surveyed, the UK is now closely followed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where 54% of international retailers are present. This emerging market’s growing ability to attract international retailers fuelled its rise as a global retail destination during 2009, seeing it take second position in CBRE’s top global retail markets ranking for the first time.
CBRE’s annual survey – now in its third year – mapped the global footprint of 294 of the world’s top retailers across 69 countries, exploring the globalisation of the retail industry at national and city levels and highlighting differences between sectors and regions, thereby identifying changing trends in the patterns of global retail expansion.
Despite a bumpy year for retail markets across the world, the UK maintained the number one position in the top 20 most international retail markets ranking for the third year running. Overall, Europe continued to dominate the top 20, with all five of the largest European economies featuring in the top 10 international retail destinations: UK (1st), France (4th), Spain (6th), Germany (7th) and Italy (8th). However, the top 20 list has become considerably more global in the past year as retailers target key emerging markets in addition to the more established retail destinations. For example, the United Arab Emirates and China have rapidly expanded their international retail offer. As a result, China, for instance, has moved up the global ranking by two places in the past year to enter the top five for the first time, with 47% of retailers now present there.
Peter Gold, Head of EMEA Cross Border Retail, CB Richard Ellis, commented: “The UK market continues to attract international retailers and maintain its existing impressive array of international brands. “Emerging markets also continue to play a critical role in the global expansion strategies of international retailers. Despite the much-publicised economic challenges in the Middle East, this region is fast becoming a prime spot on the global retail map. The inherent medium-term growth potential of many emerging markets remains a key strategic magnet, helped by the fact that in some cases these markets have as yet only been targeted by relatively few international brands. Finding suitable real estate is a common barrier to entering a new market, and we are finding that the opening of new retail space and shopping centres are key triggers for international retailers considering a move into particular new markets. The current decrease in the development pipeline is likely to restrict the opportunities for retailers to expand further over the coming years.”
Almost half of all retailers in the survey (49%) had some presence in each of the three main global regions, but their footprint varied widely. The most expansive retailers have a presence in over 60 countries and 170 cities. Other global retailers are present in all three regions, but in only five to 10 key countries and 10 to 15 major cities. Luxury retailers continued to expand in Asia, but those markets which saw most new retailer arrivals succeeded in attracting entrants from a wide range of retail sectors. The Middle Eastern markets also saw strong growth from the fashion sectors, but with the majority of new entrants coming from the Luxury and Business retailers. By contrast, the majority of new openings in Central and Eastern Europe were led by Value and Mid-Range retailers.