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The Netherlands offers around 31 million sq m of retail space and over 238,000 retail outlets, which comes down to roughly 1.8 sq m of retail space per inhabitant. Currently, the traditional hierarchical structure of central and supporting shopping areas is increasingly being replaced by a market structure with fun, run and goal shopping areas. The Dutch retail market also shows a concentration trend: demand is focusing on prime retail space, particularly in high streets of the G4 cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht). Amsterdam is the main target, particularly for luxury retailers. The pressure on the prime segment is intense, due to a relatively limited supply of this type of retail property and continuing demand from foreign retail chains. Currently, prime retail locations are also shrinking, i.e. becoming more concentrated, which results in the largest cities in an upward pressure on the prime rents. High street Kalverstraat in Amsterdam has witnessed an increase of the prime rent already in 2015 and again in 2016. The prime rent in the other 'big three' (Rotterdam, Utrecht, The Hague) remained stable for several years. However, in H2 2016 The Hague witnessed an increase of the prime rent, due to redevelopment project Nieuwe Haagse Passage. Q1 2017 has shown an increase of the prime rents also in the high streets of Utrecht, Rotterdam and also in Maastricht. Generally, the gap between prime and secondary shopping locations is widening in the Netherlands. This also applies to the gap between strong and weaker shopping cities (polarisation).

Also during the crisis years, the Netherlands has remained an important market for international retailers and has attracted many new retailers. In general retailers consider the Netherlands a perfect place for testing formulas and products: with a massive stock of retail space and short distances, the competition among retailers is fierce. As such, being successful in the Netherlands means a lot. Speaking of success: due to the crisis and changing consumer behaviour several retailers in particularly the middle-segment went bankrupt, particularly in the branches clothing and shoes. These retailers were not able to adapt to the wishes of demanding consumers (a tip-top performance on the field of clicks & bricks, offering experience and full service) and often they lacked a clear profile. The iconic Dutch department store V&D went bankrupt for the same reasons. By contrast the discount sector is flourishing and many new discount stores were opened in the last few years. Also new discounters have entered the market, such as Kik and Tedi.

Regarding the retail pipeline, the crisis has forced municipalities to cancel or postpone many plans. Redevelopment has become a priority, rather than extension. Today municipalities are focusing on plans contributing most to the city's image of shopping city. Keywords are sustainability, attractiveness and quality. Particularly the G4 cities and large provincial cities are reinforcing the city centre. Examples are the redevelopment of Hoog Catharijne shopping centre in Utrecht and the new scheme Forum in Rotterdam. Another important project is the redevelopment of shopping centre Leidsenhage or ‘Mall of the Netherlands’ in Leidschendam-Voorburg, which will also be extended with 38,000 sq m. As has been mentioned above, the new extension of Haagse Passage in The Hague city centre (Nieuwe Haagse Passage) proves to be successful and has even resulted in a rise of the prime rent. Municipalities are also trying to create larger units to meet demand from international retail chains, often by means of redevelopment and/or merging of smaller units.

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