All that talk about Europe…

With all this talk about Europe, I thought it topical to shine a light on the European retail market. Our international office is currently receiving a flood of work from a range of high profile clients. In the last 12 months, we have worked in over 20 countries and the work is quickly spreading throughout a range of cities within each location –  it is safe to say the European retail industry is full of life heading into 2017.

Here is a quick insight into 5 European countries with very active retail markets…


According to Cushman and Wakefield’s latest Retail Market snapshot of Belgium, the market is off to a strong start this year. After an uneasy start to 2016, the year ended with consumer confidence improving significantly; take-up volumes above average and a high volume of new brands entering the market.

CBRE Global Investors closed the largest retail transaction in Belgium in 2016 with its December acquisition of the Médiacité shopping centre in Liege. This acquisition is expected to bring new developments and plenty of opportunities this year.

In addition, according to BDO; 3 new shopping centres are set to open in the coming year – we can see there is plenty of movement in the retail sector already planned for Belgium.


The France retail market suffered a lack of confidence following the tragic acts of terrorism witnessed in 2016. Following this, the country is currently going through a period of uncertainty with the upcoming election; however, the future is looking bright.

There are numerous positive projects planned for 2017 including some large scale shopping centre developments:

  • Val d’Europe (Serris)
  • La Galerie Espace Monthieu (Saint-Etienne)
  • Auchan Noyelles Godault
  • Centre Commercial du Prado (Marseille)

Savills have also reported that the French market is expected to benefit from further investor interest following Brexit and also see an increase from German buyers following their distance in recent years.

At Foundation Recruitment, we have also noticed a strong increase in French business across the Shopping Centre industry with new developments, refurbishments and growth demanding new talent in the market – so we’re forecasting a busy 2017 for the French market.


As the economy continues to improve in Spain, the country is becoming more attractive to international real estate investors. Catella reported in January 2017 that there is a clear focus on well-positioned shopping centres all over Spain with occupier and investor demand for retail assets expected to increase, giving the retail market confidence for 2017.

According to Auta Real Estate Experts, 24 new shopping centres will open in Spain by 2020! This would be an impressive growth and really demonstrate the pace the shopping centre industry is growing and the clear demand for additional retail space.

There is a lot of tourism heading for Spain, with new low-cost flights expected to be available from the US to Barcelona during 2017. There is also a lot of residential demand in major cities, which is expected to lead to further demand for retail space.

Overall, the Spanish retail market looks like it is on the upward climb and in for an interesting and positive year.


According to international real estate advisor Savills, Stockholm is currently the best European city for investment into shopping centres. Stockholm retail sales are expected to grow by 2.6% pa on average until 2021.

With these figures in mind, it looks like Sweden is going to be a very attractive destination for retailers and investors alike. We have started to see more and more vacancies as shopping centre teams are growing in this area, showing that the predicted growth is already underway!


Cushman & Wakefield reported during Q4 of 2016 approximately 193,000 sq m of new shopping centre space entered the market.

In addition, Turkey also has numerous exciting developments expected to be completed this year including:

  • The Metropol Mall, which will be one of the largest buildings in all of Europe! This will be a mixed use scheme including office space, private residential areas and a large theatre complex.
  • Emaar Square shopping mall – this development is expected to bring new international brands to the country. The scheme will have a range of leisure facilities including; an ice rink, underwater zoo and a movie theatre.

There are plenty of developments and opportunities across Europe; the market is fiercely active and there will undoubtedly be further developments and plans released throughout the year!

Kat Whitehead, Marketing Executive, Foundation Recruitment

Foundation Recruitment staff portraits

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