Pic Denise Luke

When it comes to shopping, Manchester really does have it all. Take a walk round town and you will discover an eclectic mix of high-street favourites and independent shops, as well as designer boutiques and hideaway vintage gems to meet all your shopping needs. There’s no shortage of options.

But unlike London, Manchester is compact enough that you can practically walk anywhere. One minute you could be perusing the elegant boutiques of King Street, and the next you could be in the Northern Quarter thrifting a nice new outfit from yesteryear. If that doesn’t quite tickle your fancy however, you can always venture a few short miles to the intu Trafford Centre.

Shopping in Manchester hasn’t gone unnoticed, with a recent retail market research study showing that Manchester has remained the UK’s top shopping destination outside London.

The study, conducted by global real estate advisors Colliers International, shows prime high street rents in Manchester rising by about 6% in 2016 with shopping centre rents increasing by 8%. This equates to about £163 per sq metre and yields of 3.85% and 5% respectively.

David Fox of Colliers said that one of the main reasons Manchester has benefited was a result of giving consumers a ‘varied and complementary’ retail offer to rival that of London in terms of its range and originality.

The city itself has become a more attractive prospect in recent times, with growth in hotels and tourism, as well as a surge in investment in infrastructure seeing it meet the needs of the wider population. Manchester’s popularity and its status as the capital of the Northern Powerhouse have helped see its ranking in the report flourish.

Fox warned that the city continued to face major challenges by offering shoppers more of a retail ‘experience’ in stores and addressing the issue of increasing spending online, but the ongoing transformation of the city centre via the regeneration of historic buildings, new office and residential developments and bars and restaurants was helping to capture spend.

“As this process of diversification continues the years ahead should demonstrate strong returns for those investors who share the vision to innovate as Manchester evolves – consumer spending will match development growth and retailing,” he explained.

Paul Souber, Colliers’ co-head of EMEA, said 2016 was the third year of consecutive growth in consumer and retail spending in Europe, driven by low inflation, an increase in employment levels and wages due to people having higher disposable income.

He said: “We continue to see the influential impact technology has on the retail sector, and how it is affecting consumer behaviour, with payments and shopping via mobile devices still acting as the primary tools of change.

“The in-store experience still holds significant value to brands but retailers must continue to embrace technology within their marketing mix to drive sales.  Understanding how people shop in individual markets is not only of relevance to local retailers, but also to those brands operating across borders.”

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