“Antwerp is a great shopping destination”

Uniqlo, Weekday, Samsøe & Samsøe: these are just a few of the big international players that have recently settled in Antwerp. They choose Antwerp as a location to test their concept and then roll it out to the Benelux and Europe. No wonder Antwerp was elected favourite retail destination for the 10th time in a row in CBRE’s Belgium Retailer Survey 2017. “Antwerp is an excellent testing ground,” says Koen Tengrootenhuysen. As chairman of the Retail Forum Belgium, he is well placed to know what drives retailers in all of Belgium.

From Uniqlo to Juttu

“Take Uniqlo for example. The Japanese brand first came to Antwerp to then conquer the rest of Belgium and on to other European cities. They already had stores in England, France and Germany. Antwerp was a logical next step before continuing to other European destinations. You could say Antwerp is an excellent “nursery” for new ideas, locally as well as internationally. Juttu, for instance, started out with a concept store in Antwerp. There they gained the necessary insights to expand their concept. They have already opened stores in Bruges and Roeselare and will soon be coming to Ghent and Brussels.”

Shoppers with money to spend

“Retailers love Antwerp because of its worldwide reputation as a fashion hub. But there is more to it. The average income in Antwerp and the surrounding area is relatively high. These are all shoppers who have some money to spend when they come to the city.”

“Ask any retailer about their biggest success factor, and they will tell you: location, location, location. Bear in mind that the rents in Antwerp are still relatively affordable, even for a building along one of the big shopping streets like the Meir. Finding a similar location in London or Paris is nearly impossible.”

Shoppable Antwerp

“Think about it: Antwerp is the perfect place for shopping. Large enough that it offers a wide range of stores, but also small enough that you can go anywhere on foot. You hop off the train in Antwerp Central and five minutes later you find yourself in the astonishing setting of the Meir. From there you can continue toward Groenplaats or go through the Stadsfeestzaal to the more high-end shopping districts. The city is just easy to shop.”

“Antwerp is such a pleasant place, too. Antwerp people are jovial, they love good food and drink, they are proud of their city and enjoy good company. Wherever you look there are terraces, cafes and restaurants for people to relax after an afternoon of shopping. What you get is a city where people like to spend a day to shop, feel good and enjoy the atmosphere. As a retailer, that is where you want to be.”


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