Whether you are considering investing in a new home, buy-to-let property, short-term let, or a commercial unit, understanding local retail markets is always going to be useful.
Indeed, from bustling high streets to high-end shopping complexes, properties in the vicinity of some of the UK’s most popular shopping centres are likely to generate higher levels of demand from prospective buyers, renters, shoppers, and tourists alike.
In this blog, we are going to reveal the top ten shopping centres in the UK that attract bustling crowds, and in turn create increased demand in their areas.
1. Oxford Street, Central London
With an estimated annual revenue of £946 million, at the top of list – unsurprisingly – is Oxford Street in central London.
As the home of iconic British establishments such as Selfridges and Marks & Spencer’s, this bustling high street is famous for its high-end retailers and department stores. It often sits at the top of tourists’ must-visit lists when they explore the capital.
As a result, Oxford Street attracts the 5th highest footfall in the UK, while 3.2 million people live within its catchment area.
In terms of growth, ten major ongoing property developments are poised to bring about 1 million square feet of revamped retail, hospitality, and leisure spaces. This could bring about many new flagship stores that align with contemporary retail and consumer needs, potentially attracting heightened interest from investors – particularly those in the commercial or short-term let property space.
2. West Brompton, Knightsbridge
With an estimated annual revenue of £838 million, West Brompton in Knightsbridge, West London is next on the list of the top ten shopping and centres in the UK.
Boasting luxury stores like Harrods and Harvey Nichols, this retail centre actually ranks at 195 out of 21,909 in the UK in terms of footfall. Indicating that its revenue is likely coming from mainly premium commercial units.
As such, unlike Oxford Street or other shopping centres on this list, West Brompton clearly thrives not on sheer volume of visitors, but on the exclusivity and premium quality of its stores.
Source: GMAP Analytics
Looking ahead, developments are underway that aim to create additional public footways along the roads of West Brompton and the rest of Knightsbridge, with the aim of boosting footfall in the area. In turn, this could lead to even higher levels of revenue in the years to come.
3. Carnaby Street, Central London
Elsewhere in London, Carnaby Street in the centre of the city is third on the list of the UK’s top shopping and retail centres. It has an estimated annual revenue of £821 million.
Situated in the vicinity of Oxford Street, Carnaby Street as a shopping district encompasses 14 streets with over 60 shops and more than 100 brands and labels, including the likes of Adidas and G-Shock.
It benefits from this variety of retail spaces and leisure complexes, such as Kingly Court or the Liberty building. It also enjoys a catchment population of 3.8 million people.
Despite this, Carnaby Street ranks 1,136 out of 21,909 in terms of footfall. However, Carnaby Street could benefit from a recent merging of the Central London landlords Shaftesbury and Capital & Counties. This merger united much of Soho and Covent Garden under a single ownership, with the transaction aiming to deliver long-term economic success for the area.
4. Manchester Shopping District, Manchester
At fourth on the list is the Manchester Shopping District, encompassing the city centre, the Royal Exchange, and the Arndale Centre.
As the first centre to be featured outside of London, and with a catchment population of 2.1 million, Manchester Shopping District comes in at 14 out of 21,909 on GMAP Analytics footfall analysis. It also ranks fifth in the ‘Fashion & Comparison’ rank.
All of this means that, due to its popularity across the country and the rest of the world, it earns around an estimated £701 million in revenue.
There’s also plenty of potential on the horizon. Deloitte research found that, in 2022, the amount of leisure and retail space delivered increased by 12% on the year before.
Meanwhile, new developments are on their way in the vicinity of Manchester Shopping District. For example, Manchester council recently approved plans for a new 27-storey mixed-use tower in the city centre that will include apartments, offices, and a new hotel.
With this in mind, it is likely that Manchester Shopping District is going experience further growth in the coming years.
5. The Trafford Centre, Manchester
At number five in the list of the UK’s top ten shopping and retail centres is The Trafford Centre, which is also situated in the Greater Manchester area.
With a footfall ranking of 697, The Trafford Centre may have a smaller catchment population of 968,000 than many of the other shopping centres on this list, but it still attracts an estimated £670 million in annual revenue.
It also ranks fourth on GMAP’s Analytics Fashion & Comparison list, and boasts some of the top retail names and chains that the world has to offer.
And the future looks bright. With a new property development being started this year, The Trafford Centre will soon have 3,000 new homes within its vicinity, as well as a new hotel, and brand-new office spaces.
6. Glasgow Shopping District, Scotland
With a catchment population of 1.2 million, and a footfall ranking of 32 out of 21,909, Glasgow’s Shopping District creates an estimated £668 million a year in revenue.
As such, Glasgow’s Shopping District sits in sixth position on the list of the UK’s top ten shopping and retail centres. It is the first centre that is situated outside of England in the rankings.
Known for the variety of shops and items on offer, visitors can buy anything from unique antiques to authentic cowboy boots and luxurious handbags. As a result, it rates as the eighth best centre in the country on GMAP Analytics Fashion & Comparison list.
It is worth noting that the district is set to grow as new developments continue to be approved, and spades continue to be put in the ground.
In March this year, for example, it was revealed that a part of Glasgow’s shopping area would be regenerated to create 600 new homes and build a new retail space.
Following the approval of the above developments planning permission, another project in the city has been given go ahead, which will boost the homes available in the shipping district by 917, and will include retail, leisure and entertainment units as well.
With these developments in mind, the Glasgow Shopping District could be set to attract even more footfall and revenue in the years ahead.
7. Bluewater, Kent
In seventh place on this list is another shopping and retail centre in the South of England – this time, in Dartford, Kent. With an estimated annual revenue of £651 million, Bluewater has one of the smallest catchment area populations due to its out-of-town location.
Its location also means that it ranks at 664 out of 21,909 in terms of footfall, but registers at third on GMAP Analytics Fashion & Comparison ranking. This largely due to the fact that it sells a higher volume of fashion items than other retail centres on the list.
Looking ahead, the owner of Bluewater recently laid out plans to convert some shopping unit space in the centre into areas for leisure activities. Perhaps reflecting changing consumer tastes, it appears Bluewater will place greater emphasis on the variety of bars and restaurants available on site.
Meanwhile, a new urban park has been proposed for construction opposite the shopping centre, which could result in more footfall in the years to come.
8. Liverpool One, Liverpool
Back up to the Northwest now, with Liverpool One on Merseyside coming in at eighth. Nestled in the heart of Liverpool’s city centre, Liverpool One has a catchment area population of 1.6 million, and sits at 379th in terms of centre footfall.
It also comes in at seventh on GMAP Analytics Fashion & Comparison ranking and earns an estimated £651 million in revenue each year.
The centre predominantly makes its money off fashion retailers, but health and beauty and outdoor and sports stores also contribute significantly to its revenue.
According to a new report, the Liverpool One Development has had a transformative impact on Liverpool’s economy since it opened in 2008. Generating £4.1 billion in Gross Value Added, it supports at least 4,700 local jobs and has welcomed more than 390 million visits.
Nearby, a new masterplan for Liverpool’s waterfront has been proposed that would ensure that Liverpool continues on its journey to becoming a global destination and economic engine. As such, Liverpool One should continue to benefit from the growing popularity of the city in the years to come.
9. Covent Garden, Central London
The penultimate shopping and retail centre on the list is Covent Garden – another one of central London’s most famous areas for fashion, jewellery, and shopping.
With an estimated annual revenue of £598 million, this centre has a catchment area population of 3.8 million, and ranks at 102 in terms of footfall.
A key tourist destination in the capital, it ranks at 54th in GMAP Analytics fashion and comparison rankings.
Source: GMAP Analytics
10. Westfield Shepherd’s Bush, West London
And finally, at number ten on the list of the UKs top shopping and retail centres, is Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush, West London.
Ranking at ninth in GMAP Analytics fashion and comparison rankings, Westfield has a smaller catchment area population than the other shopping centres in the capital at 997,000. It also ranks lower in terms of footfall (308th), but still attracts an estimated yearly revenue of £589 million.
In terms of development, £1 billion worth of residential homes will be constructed in skyscrapers in nearby White City. Meanwhile, Olympia London’s owners recently injected more than £5 million into the Shepherd’s Bush market.
In turn, these efforts could boost footfall, and increase the catchment area population, adding to Westfield’s growth potential in the years to come.
Investing in a shopping and retail centre
Any property investment you make should be weighed up against several parameters. You need to consider the financials, sentiment in the market, along with all the other factors that play a part in people’s decision-making about where they live. Any property investment strategy you may have should be discussed with a qualified professional.
If you do have a clear goal in mind, we’ll be there should you need bespoke finance to achieve it. Our specialist funding can help you with a range of large investments, including shopping centres and retail units.
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We can turn enquiries into bridging loans within three to ten days. When we say yes we mean it and as we present all our charges upfront – you can be sure there are no hidden fees.