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After the first signs of recovery were seen last year, the Swiss retail trade achieved growth of +1.1 per cent in the first half of 2018 compared to the prior-year period, according to GfK Swiss market monitor. The KOF

economic barometer of the KOF Swiss Economic Institute at ETH Zurich also confirms the positive trend in the retail trade. According to the Business Situation Survey of July 2018, the economic situation has improved and is significantly better than it was, for instance, in summer last year. The decline in visitor traffic halted and sales volumes rose. Earnings even grew slightly.

According to the survey, Swiss retailers are anticipating another upturn in sales in the near future.

Despite the slightly positive trends in the general retail trade, non-food retail had to accept a decrease of -0.3 per cent in the first half year compared to the prior-year period (GfK 2018). In Switzerland, the global structural change in the retail sector is particularly affecting the clothing sector, which has for a long time traditionally had to battle the overcapacities that became evident following Zalando’s entry into the market in 2011.

In contrast to the fashion industry, which is trying like never beforeto find new formulas to entice into its stores customers who find it more convenient to have goods sent home to try on, other sectors are in the process of transforming their retail spaces into a customer experience or are even opening a physical retail space for the first time. Cosmetics and beauty products, for example, can offer a good experience and be showcased and combined with treatments and advice so that women and increasing numbers of men enjoy coming into the store. In this era of Instagram and selfies, body shaping and beauty are generally on trend. It is the same in Switzerland too where international beauty concepts such as Rituals or Sephora are gaining momentum and opening new branches or shop-in-shop stores.

Likewise, new brands are constantly appearing in the skin treatment sector and these offer treatments in their boutiques as well as the products. In Switzerland, a lot is changing in the sports and leisure sector too. French sports brand Decathlon entered the market with the opening of its online stores in December 2016 and its first two Swiss stores in Marin-Centre (Neuchâtel) in August 2017 and Meyrin (Geneva) in April 2018. It took over Swiss company Athleticum in 2018 including all of its 455 staff and 23 stores, which it intends to convert into Decathlon branches by 2019. Various sneaker stores like German chain Snipes or the US Foot Locker have expanded enormously in Switzerland in recent years. Other international brands in the sports clothing sector are similarly looking for their first site in the larger cities. Various fitness chains are also advancing and are now also on the look-out for ‘expensive’ locations in city centres.

Internationally renowned F&B concepts like Joe & The Juice, Five Guys, Dunkin' Donuts and KFC are looking for suitable locations in Switzerland and are finding them more and more often because shoe or fashion chains are giving up their sites. The landlords and their new tenants often share the investment costs of the building infrastructure upgrades needed to install ventilation systems, etc. Luxury brands are equally optimistic again after several difficult years and are opening retail stores, like Moncler on Grendelstrasse in Lucerne and Harry Winston or Saint Laurent in Zurich on Bahnhofstrasse.

Retail formats that were originally pure online players are either looking for physical retail spaces in Switzerland or have already opened them, like the rapidly expanding Swiss eyewear brand VIU. Originally founded 5 years ago as an online store, VIU is now no longer expanding just in Switzerland, but also in Germany and other European countries too. Other online traders are in the starting blocks in Switzerland and will soon open their first stores. In this way, the online furniture firm home24 opened a showroom in Zurich in a central location in the autumn of 2018.

Our Top Tip For
New Arrivals

From Armani to Zara, Switzerland has become one of the most popular shopping destinations in Europe, with a broad range of brands and retail options in picturesque old towns or pleasant shopping centres. Shopping along the famous Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich or Rue Du Rhone in Geneva is not only an opportunity to buy new clothes or accessories, but also a catwalk on which to see and be seen. Come dressed chic and enjoy a coffee. The price is worth it.


Swiss Franc (CHF)
EUR €0.88
USD $1.02
GBP £0.79


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5.90 CHF

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