globe retail outlook data


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For the third consecutive year, retail market indicators were positive in 2017, even outstripping initial year forecasts. Private consumption grew by 2.7%, retail sales were up by 1.6%, a record-breaking 82 million international tourists visited Spain, the unemployment rate fell from 19.6% to 17.2% and shopping centre footfall and sales grew by 1.3% and 0.6% respectively.

Although the Consumer Confidence Index dropped by 8% in September and October due the political instability in Catalonia, it clawed back 3% in November and December, returning to the high levels recorded during H1 2017.

In 2018 the main retail indicators are expected to remain favourable, although growth will be more subdued. For example, private consumption is expected to grow by around 2.3% in 2018 and 1.9% in 2019, down on previous years.

The upbeat economy has encouraged many retailers to expand, and activity remains high across all retail-related sectors. Many international retailers are looking to make their debut in Spain. In 2017, 34 new foreign retailers opened their first store in Spain, including Uniqlo, OVS, Tesla and Vapiano. Still, most retailers are expanding tentatively, and only a handful are aiming to open more than 15 new stores this year.

Fashion retailers are being very cautious when it come to implementing their expansion plans, partially due to limited sales growth in 2017 (according to the CBRE index, fashion sales in shopping centres did not increase in 2017 (0.0% up until November). As a result, the expansion plans of most fashion brands are being rather unambitious in 2018, and marketing processes are far longer than in recent years. In light of fashion retailers tentative expansion plans, rents are not increasing.

However, business is thriving in other sectors, especially sportswear, sports footwear, home, beauty and food & beverage. These sectors are leading the field in terms of expansion in 2018, both in shopping centres and on the high street.  Furthermore, retailers have been broadening their horizons, no longer focusing solely on the Madrid and Barcelona high street markets, but considering what opportunities can be found on high streets in other cities. An increased number of lettings in cities with a consolidated stock, such as Bilbao, Malaga, Seville, Valencia, Palma de Mallorca and Zaragoza has been the result.  Tourism acts as a major boost for high street sales, hence why the cities that are top tourist destinations are the most sought-after by retailers.


Retail investment remained high in 2017, registering €3,300 million at year-end. Shopping centre investment accounted for €2,500 million of this, whilst high street accounted for the remaining €800 million. This figure was down 14% on 2016, which was a record year in which the Metrovacesa retail properties acquired by Merlin boosted the total volume considerably. Although there were no corporate transactions, 2017 was an active year, thanks to favourable economic and property cycles, high liquidity and improved access to financing. In total, the shopping centre and retail park sector recorded 32 sale and purchase deals in 2017, up from 29 in 2016.

In 2018, the shopping centre investment market is being very active again, registering many prime and secondary located investment deals, and the end year volumes will be above the figure of last year. 

2017’s high street investment total came in at €800 million, the same level as in 2016. The fact that so many large flagship stores are changing hands is driving high street investment volumes up, with institutional funds becoming increasingly active in this area.  In 2018 secondary cities continue to start playing an ever more important role, and the year end volume is expected to be an all time record, with a total volume of more than 1,200 million euros.

Our Top Tip For
New Arrivals

To clear up a common misconception. Spanish people do not enjoy long siestas during the day. They are much too busy trying to get their work done so they can hit the bars early. You can talk business or pleasure long into the night while sitting on terrazas on the long summer evenings.


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