The report charts the major developments in the city centre in the past 20 years, including the construction of Victoria Square, the arrival of new global brands and the improved tourism offer and new attractions such as Titanic Belfast.
We explore the future
drivers that could accelerate Belfast’s development as a leading UK retail
destination and what is needed if the city wants to become one of the UK’s top
10 retail destinations.
Criona Collins, Director
of Retail at Lambert Smith Hampton said: “This report shows how far Belfast has
come in terms of its retail offering since 1998 but also acknowledges that
there is still some way to go before the city will be lauded as a retail
destination across Europe, with a reputation that helps attract tourists.
“We should celebrate the
success that Belfast has had with an influx of new brands over the past 18
months – names like Skechers, Patisserie Valerie, Greggs, Søstrene
Grene and Stradivarius.
But there is a real and pressing need for a strategy if we are to maintain this
progress in Belfast and we at LSH are pleased that this is now considered a
priority by Belfast City Council.”
Belfast was ranked 15th out of 20 in the most recent Trevor Woods survey of top UK shopping destinations. Lambert Smith Hampton said that, given the size of Belfast, it may not be realistic to think the city will rank in the top 10 in the short term. But, following the opening of Ulster University’s Belfast Campus and the expected increase in the number of people living in the city centre over the next decade, the report says there is an opportunity to drive Belfast up the rankings.
Pictured Claire Cole, Research Analyst - Ireland together with Criona Collins, Head of Retail Agency - Belfast
Claire Cole, Research
Analyst at Lambert Smith Hampton said: “It is clear that retail in Belfast has
wholly improved. It is easy to forget that at the time of the Good Friday
Agreement there were very few international brands in Northern Ireland – the
likes of Tesco and Sainsbury’s were new arrivals - and key developments such as
Victoria Square did not yet exist.
“We’re not at the point
where we’re competing with Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham. Belfast is much
smaller and does not yet have the same number and quality of shops, restaurants
and leisure attractions. But if there’s a joined up focus on continually
improving Belfast’s retail and leisure offer then we are confident that Belfast
can make up ground on those larger centres.”
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