Brussels is undisputedly one of the major political capitals in the world and regarded as the most important political centre in Europe. The European Union (EU), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and more than 1,000 international associations are based in Brussels. Its multilingual hospitality, safe environment and high quality of living make it an appealing destination.
In comparison with other major cities, Brussels remains one of the most affordable property markets in Western Europe. In addition to the fact it hosts major international institutions, Belgium presents a wide variety of cultural assets, Brussels being, with Bruges, a must-see tourism destination. The Brussels retail market is typically split into two areas: Uptown Brussels (Toison d’Or, Chaussée d’Ixelles, Louise), and Downtown Brussels (Rue Neuve, the most expensive location in the country). Brussels is also known for Zaventem-Nossegem, one of the largest retail warehouse concentrations in Belgium, and the W Shopping, which is the second most expensive shopping centre location in the country. Brussels also features a noticeably high percentage of international retailers: 25%, compared to the European average of 15%.
The Downtown area is the most important retail nucleon in Brussels, with approximately 2,800 retail units. The main and pedestrianised street is Rue Neuve and it is home to numerous internationally recognized retailers and global brands, and has the highest retail rents in the country. It also has the highest pedestrian traffic. There are also a number of side streets and shopping centres in the pedestrianised area around Rue Neuve including City 2 shopping centre (anchors Fnac and Inno Galeria) and the landmark Galéries Royales Saint-Hubert (one of the oldest roof-covered shopping streets in Europe). The most trendy side street district downtown is the Rue Dansaert area where avant-garde mixes with residential and restaurants & pubs.
UPTOWNThe Uptown area in Brussels is more diversified, featuring a popular midscale subzone: Chaussée d’Ixelles with its mid to upscale high streets; Avenue Louise & Avenue de la Toison d’Or; as well as the more upscale locations in this area ofBrussels, Boulevard de Waterloo is the luxury market area. Uptown Brussels has approximately 1500 retail units.
Shopping WoluwePrime traditional shopping centre of Brussels that opened in 1968 and got an extension in 1989 to 43,000 sq.m. Last renovation dates from 2004 but another extension of 12,000 sq.m. is planned for. It is perfectly located within the suburbs on the eastern side of Brussels which is definitely the richest area. It captures some 8.5 million visitors per year with anchor stores like Habitat, Inno Galeria and Zara. Recent openings include Calvin Klein and Mer du Nord.
Westland Shopping CenterWestland is the other traditional shopping centre of Brussels. With some 38,000 sq.m. it is the second largest centre in Brussels and it captures abouit 7.7 million visitors each year. It opened in 1972 and got an extension in 1989. Last renovation dates from 2000 and no extension is planned for the moment. Anchor stores are C&A, Delhaize, H&M and New Look.
|SHOPPING CENTER TO WATCH OUT FOR|
|Docks Bruxsel||Under Construction|
|Total Size (Sq.m)||41,000 sq.m.|
|- Retail GLA||33,000 sq.m.|
|- Leisure/Entertainment GLA||8,000 sq.m.|
|Planned Opening Date||2016|
|Consumer Profile||Mass market|
|Description||Ex industrial area conversion along the canal|
There are several projects for shopping centre development, especially in the northern periphery of Brussels, but only one project is actually fully ready to start construction: Docks Bruxsel, a 41,000 sq.m. development by Equilis near Pont Van Praet is starting construction. The 79,500 sq.m. Uplace project in Machelen (near Vilvoorde north of Brussels) has been a political issue for several years; it has all permits but is awaiting the result of an appeal procedure. The Neo project of the city of Brussels is a redevelopment of a large area around the actual Heysel national football stadium; it is still in an early phase and will probably only be realised in the 2018-2020 timeframe. If the demographic development in Brussels continues its actual pace the Brussels market can certainly support new shopping centre space.
|KEY AREAS / STREETS/SHOPPING CENTERS||CONSUMER PROFILE||MAJOR RETAILERS PRESENT||NEW ENTRANTS||TYPICAL RENT FOR UNIT OF 200 SQM||RANGE OF UNIT SIZES|
|Rue Neuve||Tourists, local and regional shoppers||Primark, H&M, Zara, New Look, Mango, Hema, Esprit, C&A, Bershka, etc.||Primark, Desigual, Nike, Claire's, Intimissimi||1500->1750 €/m²/year||50 - 3000 m²|
|Chaussée d’Ixelles||Local shoppers||H&M, Zara, Mango, Bershka, Camaïeu, etc.||Ropastock, Minelli,Picard, Alain Afflelou||900->1100 €/m²/year||50 - 2000 m²|
|Avenue de la Toison d’Or||Tourists, local and regional shoppers||Marks&Spencer, Apple, Esprit, Hema, Fnac, AS Adventures, Desigual, Springfield, Cyrillus, etc.||Marks&Spencer, Apple,Bodum, & Other Stories, Tesla, Timberland,||1000->1 200 €/m²/year||50 - 4000 m²|
|Avenue Louise||Tourists, local and regional shoppers||Hugo Boss, Cos, Superdry, Marina Rinaldi, Nespresso, Karen Millen, etc.||Zadig & Voltaire IKKS, Michael Kors, Xandres, Bose||1500->1 750 €/m²/year||50 - 1000 m²|
|Boulevard de Waterloo||Tourists, local and regional shoppers||Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Todd’s, Abercrombie & Fitch, Hermès, etc.||Moncler, Anne Fontaine, Abercrombie & Fitch, Brunello Cucinelli||1400->1600 €/m²/year||50 - 600 m²|
Data as of April 2014
Having become a cosmopolitan city, Brussels offers a very wide range of dining possibilities compared to its relatively small market size.
All the famous Belgian specialties are of course more than present in Brussels: 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 Michelin star restaurants.
There are numerous successful catering spots in Brussels: the Grand-Place, Rue des Bouchers, the Halles Saint-Géry, Place du Sablon, Place Saint-Boniface, Place du Châtelain, Place Flagey, Place Sainte-Catherine and the neighborhood of the university. Porte de Namur (Uptown) and Rue Neuve (Downtown) will provide more casual chain restaurants and fast-foods.
It is interesting to notice that Belgium and Brussels are not easily penetrated by international restaurant chains, with the exception of McDonalds that fights with the local Quick in the burger market, and it is only recently that Starbucks and Subway have opened. Many other strong brands (including KFC, Burger King) have not yet decided to open franchises in Belgium. However things are changing: Hard Rock Café will make the move in 2012 and open in the Grand-Place, no less.
There will be stiff competition from local and national chains. Quick, Lunch Garden, Exki, Guapa, Pain Quotidien, Marcolini, Mamma Roma, Schievelavabo, Chez Léon are all well-established names in Brussels, having their origins in Belgium.
Being a city of gourmands, Brussels is always open to new culinary ideas and concepts. Woké with its fast Asian concept, the current independent burger trend and Brusselicious 2012initiative (a yearlong food festival to promote the food and beverage sector in Brussels) all demonstrate the welcoming and innovative spirit of the sector in Brussels.
|KEY AREAS||CONSUMER PROFILE||FOOD & BEVERAGE OPERATOR INCLUDING||RENT FOR 3,500 SQFT UNIT|
|Grand Place (Historical area)||Local Business density, tourists||Hard Rock Café, Häagen Dazs, Exki, Quick, etc.||N/A|
|Place du Grand Sablon||Local Business density, tourists||Chez Lola, Le vieux Saint Martin, Wittamer, etc.||N/A|
|Place du Châtelain||Local & international trendy||Raconte moi des salades, Basta Cosi, La chatelaine du Liban, etc.||N/A|
|Place Flagey||Local & international trendy||Le Belga, Le grain de sel, Le bar du marché, etc.||N/A|
|Place Sainte Catherine||Local & international trendy||Le Rugbyman, I Litani, L’Achepot,||N/A|
Data as of April 2014
Jean BaheuxPartner, 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