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London tops the list for European retail expansion

London has been crowned the most sought-after destination for retailers looking to expand in Europe, according to the latest research by commercial property consultancy CBRE.

Last year 65 new retailers opened in the city, including sportswear brand New Balance.

London also saw a record amount of investment in retail property during the year, with £2bn spent by the end of 2016.

Globally, Hong Kong pipped London to the post to take first place as the most popular destination for expansion after attracting 87 new retailers.

The report found that the majority of retail brands opening in London came from the US, indicating that London has continued to be a popular gateway for expansion into Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

Hugh Radford, chairman of London retail at CBRE, said: “London is faring very well compared to other global cities and despite the heads winds of the business rates revaluation, which has had an impact on most retailers, international retail brands still continue to see the importance of having a store presence in London.

“The record number of tourists visiting London, benefitting from the weak pound, has also given a boost to most retailers’ sales figures. However, retailers are being increasingly selective about getting the right location and property to allow them to develop their retail offer and attract new customers”.

A quarter of the new brands opening in London were mid-range retailers, while luxury retailers accounted for a fifth of all new entrants.

The report also showed that coffee shops and restaurants were the hottest retail sector for expansion from overseas businesses, with these accounting for 22% of all city-level launches. This was followed by specialist clothing stores (18%) and mid-range fashion stores (17%). 

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