Retail & fashion capital
Antwerp is home to flagship stores and branches from all major retailers around the world. Next to these global names, a seamingly endless row of smaller, local boutiques with collections from up-and-coming fashion designers line the streets. You can find everything here – from grungy street style to catwalk.
Even those who don’t enjoy clothes shopping might have a change of heart here, where one-off boutiques such as glove purveyor Huis A. Boon line cobblestoned streets and where grand designer stores — including those of local fashion stars Dries Van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester — display a refreshing lack of attitude.
(National Geographic: Intelligent Travel)
Antwerp: where fashion meets technology
The fashion industry is discovering technology: designers are experimenting with data analysis, tech in clothing is no longer a dream, new materials bring new possibilities. Moreover, the Biotech revolution is here and robotised production creates new ways of innovation thinking.
More diverse than ever, Antwerp's fashion industry thrives upon endless sources of inspiration that help make a social statement and create awareness. Our internet-fueled world breaks through any remaining boundaries and establishes international creative networks that bring new industries into the fashion sector.
5 trends in fashion illustrates the best Antwerp has to offer: read more.
High spending potential
The atmosphere in Antwerp is one of enjoyment and relaxation, which attracts visitors of all ages who are quite prepared to spend their money on gourmet dining, shopping, an afternoon or a weekend of culture and fun. The quality of life is high, and this is evident to every visitor.
Throughout Belgium, the GDP per capita – and hence purchasing power – is 21% higher than the average in Europe. In the Province of Antwerp, the GDP is 39% higher, and even 42% in the District of Antwerp. And shoppers choose Antwerp as their favourite place to spend their income.
The major international companies in and around Antwerp also attract a steady stream of international workers. Moneyed expats love all the comforts that the city offers. They also feel at home in Antwerp.
Retail is ingrained in Antwerp. Trade is a crucial part of the city’s rich history and has helped shape the streets and magnificent buildings.
But Antwerp does not remain stuck in the past. Growth is an integral part of the city's DNA. The areas in and around the centre are constantly changing and are turning Antwerp into a magnet for innovation and creativity.
This is the place where trends start, entrepreneurs launch new ideas and shoppers discover the latest fads. And the city? Provides space, is being moulded and is open to everything.
Antwerp is like a big lab where new trends and new names crop up first.
(Denys De Kempe, retail manager CBRE)
Since 2016 the city of Antwerp has used footfall counting technology based on Wi-Fi sensors. The technology uses the signals emitted by mobile phones or other electronic devices when searching for Wi-Fi networks. At this moment 35 Wi-Fi sensors are activated in the centre of the city, giving insight into the crowds present at these locations.
Stores by sector
|Industry||Number of shops||%|
|food & general||1 710||18.1|
|fashion and clothing||1 270||13.4|
|sports, games and hobbies||190||2.0|
|living, DIY and garden||653||6.9|
|car and bicycle||301||3.2|
|culture and leisure||363||3.8|
(Source: Locatus, 2021)
By 1993, the Belgians had become a force to be reckoned with. Leading the pack are Margiela, Demeulemeester and Van Noten. Each with their own unique aesthetic, they, along with Helmut Lang and Miuccia Prada, help define the new mood of the '90s: minimalist, cerebral, and frequently deconstructed. Antwerp becomes an internationally recognized breeding ground for innovative talent.
(New York Magazine)
Find your location
Click the zones on the map to discover the shopping areas and retail opportunities in Antwerp.
Shopping centres outside the centre
The different districts of Antwerp have clearly designated commercial centres alongside bustling shopping streets. Chains like C&A, Hema and Kruidvat complement the range of local shops. These centres are easily accessible both by public transport and by car, and are therefore preferred by many shoppers. The largest district centres are Kiel-Abdijstraat, Wilrijk-Bist and Merksem-Bredabaan.
Retail parks can find the much-needed space along Noorderlaan, Boomsesteenweg and Bredabaan. These are mostly chains for furniture, electronics, interior and DIY products, such as Ikea, Brico, Media Markt and Cool Blue. These zones are a mecca for the efficient shopper: easily accessible and lots of parking space. And what if you’ve bought large items? They can simply be delivered to your home.
Commercial space in one of the main shopping areas in Antwerp … how much does that cost?
(estimated rents, e.g. retail space 150 m² with min. 5 meter front, source: Ceusters)