Divided Dutch Retail Market

Due to a future population decrease and growing role of internet, the coming 30 years is expected to force the Dutch retail market to absorb 1.5 to 2 million square meters before it reaches saturation.

With a surplus in the number of available square metres, fierce competition is expected in the battle for consumers between locations in the same retail area, and competition between the various main Dutch shopping areas will rise. This divide in Dutch retail areas – which until now was mainly based on market insight – is quantified in the latest version of CB Richard Ellis’s ‘Viewpoint’. The international property advisor has combined market data with information from pedestrian counts and Locatus’s data files which register retail space stocks. There is a relationship between retail property performance on the one hand and development in the number of pedestrians and vacancy percentage at the location on the other.

Within a city centre’s main shopping area, A-1 locations will position themselves more strongly against A2 and B locations. C locations, the shopping streets leading to the main shopping areas, will be hit the hardest. On average, at Dutch A-1 locations, only 2% of the retail units are empty. B-2 and C locations are currently suffering from an unhealthy market. In city centres that are suffering from a so-called retail overhang there will be an ever larger distinction between the different locations.
Competition between main shopping areas is also on the increase. Both on a national and regional level, the larger centres in cities are gaining ground compared to smaller shopping areas. Smaller urban centres will ultimately only offer a limited stock of retail space and the main anchor stores will generally no longer be willing to set up in smaller catchment areas. This will mainly impact municipalities that do not have high-profile new developments, and they will increasingly lose consumers. The current average vacancy rate in the seventeen largest city centres in the Netherlands is 1% lower than in the rest of the Netherlands.