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Prime rents were unchanged in the majority of markets in Q4. However, London, Paris and Berlin, three of Europe’s top retail and tourist destinations, all saw significant rental growth, with increases of 15-20% in the year as a whole. This was due to the limited availability of prime space and significant demand from international retailers for the best units. In contrast, vacancy rates are rising in secondary locations and in most of these markets rents are falling.
Consumers are facing the challenges of high unemployment, the threat of further job losses and austerity measures, creating an uncertain economic environment. As a result, confidence levels remain well below long term average levels in most markets. Consumer sentiment did improve slightly in some markets, most notably in Ireland, but the overall EU indicator fell marginally, by 0.1 point, in December 2012.
Retail sales in EU-27 declined over the important Christmas period, in line with retailer expectations, but only in Spain and Portugal were these declines significant. A number of retailer failed across Europe as a result of the tough trading conditions, but there were still winners. Sales grew strongly in Russia, value and luxury retailers performed well and some multichannel retailers reported excellent growth. In 2013, retail sales are forecast to recover slightly, resulting in flat growth for the year.
Source : CBRE
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