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Manchester city centre tops retail and leisure ranking out of 9,000 retail and leisure markets nationwide

25 05 22 LocateVenues research hero

Colliers’ inaugural LocateVenues retail rankings report, which monitors the retail and leisure offering at commercial venues across the UK, has positioned Manchester city centre as the top ranking commercial city in the league of 9,000 retail and leisure markets nationwide.

LocateVenues looks at metrics including venue type, brand presence and strength, vacancy and refurbishment rates, floorspace availability, price positioning (value vs luxury) and category mix.

Retaining its top spot since 2019*, Manchester has shown resilience in the face of nationwide store closures during the pandemic, retaining the largest range of retail and leisure offering across the UK, in one shoppable location. Ranking just ahead of Glasgow - Central (2nd), Leeds - Central (3rd), Birmingham -  Central (4th), ) and Liverpool - Central (5th), Manchester - Central hits the top spot supporting a vibrant multiple and independent offer, and significant space under refurbishment/development.

The 9,000 venues in the research, which are defined as individual destinations, range from major city centres; local town and neighbourhood shopping streets; malls; designer outlets; retail and leisure parks; to standalone grocery stores, service stations; retail in rail stations, hospitals and business parks.

Colliers’ LocateVenues data also reveals that local centres and high streets are out-performing some of the larger destinations in the recovery from COVID-19. Smaller venues have grown by circa nine per cent between 2019 and 2022.

Paul Matthews, co-head of Retail Strategy & Analytics at Colliers, commented: “Data is now more important than ever as our clients navigate the consumer behaviour changes in response to COVID-19 and the continued evolution of shopping channel shift.”

The shift to local shopping is also demonstrated in the change in occupier presence by venue type. Using LocateVenue’s proprietary weighted scoring mechanism based on occupier presence, the biggest growth took place for retail parks. This retail asset type saw the average score increase by 23 per cent when compared to 2019, driven by their ability to provide a more socially distanced shopping experience. Alongside this, retail parks often benefit from a dense catchment area, providing occupiers with attractive investment opportunities for expansion. Out of town malls saw a dip in their scores by four per cent, having been impacted particularly hard by the closure of anchor stores.

Matthews adds: “The growth of some local shopping venues is likely driven by a desire or requirement for convenience during lockdown. This was compounded by the need for more diverse, sustainable real estate. However, it’ll take a few years to establish how permanent the shift is as life without restrictions becomes the norm.”

This desire for more localised retail provision has also had an impact on price position with many suburban and local centres seeing a change in price position as a result of new closures and openings. Locations such as Wembley, Harpurhey in Manchester and Tenby in Wales have all seen a change. In Tenby this is demonstrated with the arrival of brands such as Seasalt and Trespass and closures by Card Factory and New Look, evolving the price position from value-focussed towards a more mid-market offer.

David Fox, co-head of Retail at Colliers, said: “The diversity of retail and leisure offering in Manchester is what has allowed the city to maintain its top ranking. The findings of LocateVenue show that to thrive, destinations need to provide a genuine mix of brands and services, a large proportion of independents and an offering that is matched to the needs of the catchment area. Gone are the days when high streets or retail parks could rely on the provision of chains and anchor stores, real thought needs to be given to the occupier mix, with much of the decision making centred around a deep understanding of the local population.”

LocateVenues is the latest addition to Colliers’ LocateInsights platform, a proprietary suite of data tools which supports our strategic consultancy work advising clients on their location investment decisions.

Matthews commented: “By taking a holistic look at what is happening in retail and leisure locations around the country, we are creating comprehensive local insights which are outside of traditional real estate measurements. Combining our metrics which include type of retail provision, the ages of local demographic and void rates provides a crucial tool to allow landlords, occupiers, and local authorities to create a strategic plan regarding their assets. It will help them to understand the characteristics and quality of their commercial properties and monitor the location to support decisions on potential acquisition targets in certain areas.”

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Related Experts

Paul Matthews


Retail Strategy & Analytics

London - West End

Paul is Director and co-lead of the Retail Strategy & Analytics practice, with 13 years’ experience working with occupiers to grow and optimize their store/branch portfolios. Prior to Colliers, Paul was Global Lead for the ‘Shape of Chain’ real estate analytics proposition at Accenture/Javelin Group.

He advises clients globally on store location and performance optimisation strategies, spanning the occupier spectrum from fashion, grocery and homewares through to F&B, leisure and retail banking (and beyond).

Paul’s experience includes sales forecasting for a US grocer, UK entry and roll-out strategy for an international F&B operator, branch rationalisation strategy for a UK bank, and estate conslidation strategy for a Telco merger.

View expert

Paddy Gamble


Retail Strategy & Analytics

London - West End

Paddy is Director and co-lead of the Retail Strategy & Analytics team, with 15+ years’ experience in data analytics and retail strategy. 

Prior to Colliers, Paddy co-led the Accenture retail strategy Analytics pillar and had overall responsibility for  the Javelin Group Commercial Spaces service line, delivering data led retail property projects focused on new development potential, acquisition appraisals and asset management of existing schemes. 

 Involved in the locations and customer analytics sector since 2002, Paddy has worked on a wide range of projects covering retailer location strategy, due diligence and shopping centre strategy and acquisition appraisals. He graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University with a degree in Business Computing.

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David Fox

Co-Head of Retail Agency

Retail Agency - North

London - West End

 I am a former partner at BCL and have specialised in retail property in the Midlands ,North ,Scotland and Northern Ireland throughout my career.
Within my role as Co Head of UK Retail Agency  I have responsibility for our retail coverage in Birmingham,Leeds ,Manchester ,Glasgow and Edinburgh , and continue to build relationships with new and existing clients. 

Over my career I have advised a wide number of retail occupiers in their proprty strategies including DixonsCarphone, Boux Avenue , Hotel Chocolat , Costa and  Oliver Bonas.

I have advised a  range of investors , institutions and property companies in respect of their assets across the country , including shopping centres, high streets , transport hubs and retail parks. 

In an ever changing market  my experience has extended into asset management roles in respect of compromised shopping centres on behalf of recovery specialists and  lenders. The repurposing and regeneration of town centres and shopping centres  is an area of particular interest and  the focus of my team and colleagues.  as our industry rises to the challenge     set by change.



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Hannah Zitren

Associate Director

Marketing & Communications


I am responsible for media relations and generating coverage in top tier broadcast and print media. I work across a range of Colliers’ UK & Pan-EMEA business lines advising on their strategic and tactical PR needs.

My role includes:

·         Developing and executing PR plans for the various business lines to help promote their key messages across all aspects of the media - print, broadcast and social.

·          Media evaluation and reporting objectives, targets and successes across the business.

·         Reputation management and crisis management.

·         Media training.

·         Media engagement: setting up meetings with top tier media and various internal spokespeople to continuously expand and build a presence with property and vertical media network.

·         Consistently delivering service excellence, meeting with business heads of a regular basis and trying to influence the research as much as possible to ensure our content has a strong enough news hook.

·         Key campaigns that I work on include MIPIM; MAPIC; REVO; Midsummer Retail Report; IHIF; Cities of Influence in addition to a host of all alternative property sector research reports.

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