Belfast is a city that has changed dramatically over recent years, having emerged from a period of political and civil uncertainty known as “The Troubles”. The period between 1998 and 2008, after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement saw significant investment and physical regeneration of the City putting it firmly on the map as a dynamic European city with a quality retail offer.
The most significant development in the Belfast retail scene in recent years was the opening of Victoria Square in March 2008. This 800,000 sq ft mixed-use scheme attracted a number of quality fashion retailers to Belfast who had been previously unrepresented, such as House of Fraser, Hollister, Cruise, Hugo Boss, All Saints, Urban Outfitters and Ted Baker. It also heralded the entry into the Northern Ireland market of a number of corporate restaurant groups such as Nando’s, TGI Fridays, wagamama and Frankie & Bennies.
The period since 2008 has been difficult for the City and the retail scene has suffered. Requirement for representation from retailers is extremely “thin”, with the majority of letting activity led by discount retailers. The effect on rents has been significant with zone A rates falling by 50% in the prime pitch.
Castlecourt Shopping Centre was the prime scheme in Belfast until Victoria Square opened in 2008. It is anchored by Debenhams with other notable retailers being Republic, GAP, Burton, and Miss Selfridge. The scheme which has been quite badly affected by closures and administrations in recent years still enjoys high levels of footfall and caters to the budget and mid-market.
Donegall Place is considered Belfast’s prime retailing thoroughfare. The location has had a recent facelift with investment in the public realm and road layout making it much more attractive. Retailers include Marks & Spencer, Next, Primark, H&M and Zara. Recent closures and administrations have lead to a number of vacant units, however footfall remains high.
Victoria Square is Belfast’s newest shopping centre and most dominant retail location, anchored by House of Fraser and Odeon Cinema and with retailers including Apple, Hollister, Cruise, Urban Outfitters and recently opened Superdry. The scheme is very fashion oriented. It is also home to a number of restaurants including Wagamama, TGI Fridays, Nando’s and Pizza Express.
|KEY AREAS / STREETS/SHOPPING CENTERS||CONSUMER PROFILE||MAJOR RETAILERS PRESENT||NEW ENTRANTS||TYPICAL RENT FOR UNIT OF 2,000 SQFT||RANGE OF UNIT SIZES|
|Victoria Square||Premium, mass market, tourists||House of Fraser, Apple, Hollister, Urban Outfitters, Topshop, H&M||Superdry||£150,000||750 - 5,000 sq ft|
|Castlecourt||Mass market, local shoppers||Debenhams, Republic, GAP, Burton, Miss Selfridge||Poundland, Xtravision||£100,000||1,000 - 20,000 sq ft|
|Donegall Place||Mass market, local business density||Marks & Spencer, Next, Primark, H&M, Zara, New Look||Trespass, KFC, Poundworld||£120,000||1,000 - 10,000 sq ft|
Data as of August 2013
Belfast has a vibrant dining scene dominated by entrepreneurial local businesses such as Made in Belfast, Mourne Seafood Bar, Little Wing, James Street South and Deanes, all of which haveopened second restaurants in the city centre.
There are a number of quality eateries located in the quickly developing Cathedral Quarter in the North of the city centre, including, The Potted Hen, No 27 Talbot Street, Nicks Warehouse and Hill Street Brasserie.
Only since the opening of Victoria Square in 2008 has there been much international chains representation in the city, but now groups such as PizzaExpress, Wagamama, Nando’s, Frankie & Benny’s, Gourmet Burger Kitchen and TGI Fridays are all open and trading well.
|KEY AREAS||CONSUMER PROFILE||FOOD & BEVERAGE OPERATOR INCLUDING||RENT FOR 3,500 SQFT UNIT|
|Victoria Square||Premium shoppers, tourists||Wagamama, Nando’s, Pizza Express, TGI Fridays, Frankie & Benny’s||£80,000 - £90,000|
|Cathedral Quarter||Urban professionals, shoppers||Potted Hen, No. 27 Talbot St, Nick’s Warehouse, Made in Belfast||£50,000 - £70,000|
|Donegall Square area||Urban professionals, shoppers, tourists, local residents||Deane’s, James Street South, CoCo, Home||£50,000 - £70,000|
Data as of August 2013