AntwerpAntwerp is the second largest city in Belgium, but with a very international flavor thanks to its harbor that is one of the largest in Europe. The city hosts a famous fashion academy; several avant-garde fashion designers like the well known “Antwerp six” have their base in Antwerp, making this city a regular destination for fashionistas city trips.

These relatively large amounts of “alternative” shopping streets underpin the overall attractiveness of the whole city centre as a retail destination; as a result the prime retail rents on Antwerp’s prime retail street Meir are at the same level as Rue Neuve, the prime main street of Brussels, Belgium’s largest city for several years now. The weekly footfall is even higher than on the top location in Brussels, but that is also due to the fact that the Meir axis is a physically wide funnel shape, whereas Rue Neuve is rather narrow.

Antwerp city centre also has top peripheral retail locations: Wijnegem shopping centre (to the east of Antwerp) was developed in the 1990s and has proved to be Belgium’s most successful shopping centre. The two main out-of-town retail locations Bredabaan (North East of Antwerp) and Boomsesteenweg (South along the A12) are also very successful. Despite this strong competition from peripheral locations, city centre retail areas continue to perform on a very high level.

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CITY CENTRE: 51.219680, 4.409466
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The busiest main street is undoubtedly the Meir-Leysstraat axis. The Stadsfeestzaal in-town shopping centre with its landmark hall building makes the link between the Meir and Hopland-Schuttershofstraat, Antwerp’s Bond Street. At the other end of Meir up to Groenplaats there’s the recently renewed Grand Bazar shopping centre with anchor stores FNAC, and Mango as anchor stores.

Huidevettersstraat and the adjacent "Wilde Zee"-area around the Kleine Gasthuisstraat are also important shopping streets of the central retail area; this district extends down to Lombardenvest and Kammenstraat with several trendy and avant-garde fashion stores. These trendy stores can also be found in a larger area called "Zuid" which means south-of-the-city-centre: via Nationalestraat and Kloosterstraat down to the Vlaamse Kaai area, this is a mixed area with as well top avant-garde fashion stores, old antique stores, trendy restaurants & pubs, loft-style residential as well as concept stores like Your (the Antwerp version of the Paris concept store Collette) Clinic and Hospital Fashion & Lifestyle (both in the Burburestraat).


Apart from the planned extension of the Wijnegem shopping centre, there are no new schemes in the pipeline in the Antwerp area. The regional and local government is extremely restrictive to protect the inner city retail. The 3 new schemes planned in the northern periphery of Brussels ( see Brussels report) are only some 40 kms from Antwerp and will certainly influence the southern part of the catchment area in the coming 10 to 15 years.

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Wijnegem Shopping Center: 51.222106, 4.502261
Stadsfeestzaal: 51.217916, 4.411314
Grand Bazar: 51.218711, 4.402899
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Wijnegem Shopping Center

Wijnegem shopping center opened in 1993 and is one of the the most successful mall schemes in Belgium. After 2 extensions, the last one dates from September 2013, it is now the largest shopping centre in Belgium with 60,254 sq.m. GLA. Plans exist for yet another extension. Prime rents are at approximately 70% of prime main street rents in the country. Some 9 million visitors are recorded each year; anchor stores include H&M, FNAC, New Look and Peek & Cloppenburg.
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Stadsfeestzaal was developed by Multuafter a fire that destroyed the 19th century city festival hall; the spectacular hall was restored in this inner city project that opened in 2007. It functions as a junction between the Meir main street and the Hopland luxury street. Anchor stores are Delhaize, COS ,Urban Outfitters and La Place.
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Grand Bazar

Grand Bazar is a redevelopment of the former Grand Bazar inner town department store. It opened in 1993 and is a landmark building at the western side of the main inner town shopping area including the Hilton hotel. Anchor stores are FNAC, Mango and Carrefour.

MeirTourists, local and regional shoppersInno Galeria, Zara, H&M, Urban Outfitters, New Look, Desigual, The Sting, Mexx, New Yorker JD Sports & Uniqlo1.500->1.800 €/sq.m./yr20-6000 sq.m.
Huidevetterstraat / Wilde ZeeTourists, local and regional shoppersZara, Massimo Dutti, Hugo Boss, Nespresso, Grand Optical, Max Mara Michael Kors, Bimba Y Lola and Hallhuber1.000->1.300 €/sq.m./yr50-800 sq.m.
Hopland- Schuttershofstraat, KomedieplaatsTourists, local and regional shoppersGucci, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Delvaux, Moncler, BCBG, Tommy Hilfiger Philippe Plein, Stone Island and Chanel1.000 -> 1.400 €/sq.m./yr20-400 sq.m.

Data as of April 2015

Antwerp is a cosmopolitan city, with a reputation for a trendy nightlife. It offers a very wide range of food and beverage possibilities compared to its relatively small market size.

All the famous Belgian specialties are well represented in Antwerp, especially in the popular tourist areas like Grote Markt and Groenplaats in the historic part of the city: mussels, fries, beer and of course chocolate.

But beyond these clichés, gourmets can satisfy all their tastes in all kinds of eateries, from genuine “brasseries” to international and fusion restaurants, from humble chip shops to renowned gastronomic restaurants.

The trendy Zuid Area hosts numerous restaurants and pubs especially on and near Waalse Kaai, Vlaamse Kaai and Leopold de Waelplaats.

The Eilandje district, just north of the city centre (where gentrification started more recently), is another very trendy area. The main landmark building in this area is the Museum aan de Stroom, including the Michelin Star restaurant ‘t Zilte on the top floor.

It is interesting to notice that Belgium and Antwerp are not easily penetrated by international restaurant chains. Except McDonalds that fights with the local Quick in the burger market, and since recently Starbucks and Subway, many other strong brands (KFC, Burger King, …) have not yet decided to open franchises in Belgium. We can say that local chains make it difficult for them. Quick, Lunch Garden, Exki, Pain Quotidien, Dominiek Persoons, Joost Arijs, Chez Léon, Désiré de Lille are all well-established names in Antwerp, finding their origins in Belgium.

Finally, being a city of gourmands, Antwerp is always open to new culinary ideas and concepts.

Grote Markt/Groenplaats Tourists and localsDe Groote Witte Arend, Lam&Yin, Dock’s Café and numerous others N/A
Zuid AreaLocal & international trendyFiskebar, Kommilfoo, and many othersN/A
Eilandje Local & international trendy't Zilte, Pomphuis, othersN/A

Data as of April 2015

Antwerp Contacts

Jean Baheux

Partner, Head of Retail Agency Belgium
Avenue des Arts 56 Kunstlaan
B-1000 Brussels , Belgium
Tel: +32 (0)2 546 08 61
Mob: +32 478 96 08 61