Retailers Step Up Expansion Plans as Confidence Returns

Cannes/London, 18 November 2010 – The United Kingdom (UK) remains a leading target for international retailers as they ramp up their expansion plans for 2011, signalling a return to confidence in the sector as an increasing number of retailers plan to significantly increase their store networks next year. New international retail research by the world’s leading real estate advisor, CB Richard Ellis (CBRE), revealed that over 50% of retailers are planning to open more than 10 stores in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region by the end of 2011, a jump compared to 12 months ago when just under half the retailers CBRE surveyed intended to open less than five stores during 2010. The UK emerged as the fifth most popular market for expansion in the EMEA region in 2011.

CBRE's research report – How Active are Retailers in EMEA? – examines the attitudes and 2011 expansion plans of 212 leading retailers, based on interviews conducted over the summer of 2010.

The number of retailers planning to expand their presence on a major scale has increased considerably – 19% are planning to open 40 or more new stores in 2011, compared with only 13% in last year's survey. This clear rise in large-scale expansion has been backed by many recent retailer announcements regarding planned store growth. Forever21, the US clothing fashion brand, recently revealed plans to launch an assault on the UK market with an aim to open more than 100 stores; and other brands such as Aldo, Superdry and Hollister are all also on the expansion trail.

Mid-range Fashion and Value & Denim retailers plan to create the largest increases of any sector in the rate of new openings in 2011, with 28% of those retailers looking to open more than 30 stores next year compared to 16% in 2010. This taps into the resilience and increasingly positive outlook for consumer spending in this key fashion sector, while Value & Denim retailers are taking the opportunity to gain market share as shoppers trade down during ongoing economic uncertainty.

Peter Gold, Head of EMEA Cross Border Retail, CB Richard Ellis, commented: “Retailer sentiment has risen markedly since its low point last year. It is clear that more retailers are now feeling confident enough to accelerate their expansion. Retailer openings have picked up over the past 12 months, with retailers expanding aggressively around Europe. However, while some retailers see the current market as a time of opportunity, some are still cautious and will be looking to minimise risk. The preferred expansion option by far is to enter new cities in existing markets.”

The report also revealed that Germany retained its position as the number one target country for retailers looking to expand in the EMEA region. Strong economic growth and a relative lack of international retailers are two of the reasons driving Germany’s popularity, with 41% of retail brands surveyed planning to open a store there next year. Poland and France followed Germany to make up the top three target expansion destinations, with 33% of retailers targeting each of those markets next year. Spain (30%) and the UK (29%) round out the top five most popular markets.

Other new CBRE research showed that this retailer demand is feeding through into rental growth. Demand for prime retail space remains strong in most locations across the world, with prime retail rents globally increasing by 0.2% from the second quarter to the third quarter of 2010. The Americas saw the highest rental increase (6% year-on-year), and rents remained largely stable in most EMEA markets in Q3. Some cities have seen significant annual rental growth, with London and Edinburgh growing by 20% and 25% respectively compared to the same period in 2009.

Download the Executive Summary of How Active are Retailers in EMEA? report
Download the Executive Summary of How Active are Retailers in EMEA? report