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The Changing Face of Birmingham’s Retail Sector

The Birmingham retail sector is undergoing a huge shake-up, as large parts of the city are remodeled and regenerated as part of the Big City Plan and Midland Metro Alliance projects.

Much in the same way the commercial and professional sectors are evolving, Birmingham retail is witnessing a number of big developments in 2018 and beyond that will completely change the landscape as we know it.

For several years, the city has been filled with scaffolding, cranes and building sites, creating some of the biggest retail projects in the world.

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As we enter the second half of 2018 and projects come to completion, it’s an exciting time for both Birmingham shoppers and investors.

From the vast developments of Paradise and Primark Pavilions to store makeovers on New Street, we’re witnessing the changing face of Birmingham’s retail sector. This increased level of investment into Birmingham hasn’t gone unnoticed, drawing the attention of high-end luxury brands and flagship stores alike.

H&M opened its new flagship store on New Street in March and development is still underway on the largest Primark in the world, which will occupy the old Pavilions building. This vast development will make up five floors, with WiFi and seating areas. It’s due to open in December 2018 and will create 500 new jobs within the city, adding to an already growing number.

Birmingham also remains a top destination for high-end brands, enticing the likes of Burberry, Dior, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Louboutin, RMK, YSL, Suqqu and MAC to name but a few. With shopping hotspots such as The Bullring, Grand Central, Selfridges and The Mailbox housing the very best luxury retail brands, constant evolution means these shopping destinations are ideal for the affluent, executive population that Birmingham city centre is attracting.

The same can be said for the thriving dining scene, which has attracted the likes of the group behind world-famous restaurant The Ivy. The highly-anticipated eatery opened in April and is designed to bring the same ‘celebrity haven’ feel to Temple Row, spanning three floors with a sophisticated atmosphere and extensive menu.

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Unfortunately, as stores move in, some move out. House of Fraser will leave Birmingham in early 2019, as part of a company voluntary arrangement. With the largest House of Fraser store in the UK, Birmingham is planned to be a part of the 31 closures.

Elsewhere in Birmingham, wider developments are beginning to take shape. A retail park in Selly Oak is due to open at the end of the year and will comprise 190,000 sq ft of retail space with brands such as Marks & Spencer, JD Sports, Superdrug and Nandos.

Similarly, Perry Barr may see its One Stop Shopping Centre re-purposed, changing from retail units to either professional units, cafes or restaurants. While this move is only a proposal at the time of writing, it would represent a huge change for the retail sector in Greater Birmingham.

Finally, Paradise Birmingham is arguably the biggest retail development and represents a once-in-a-generation build. The 1.8 million sq ft development will feature shops, cafes, bars and restaurants and has been described as ‘the most important city centre development in the UK outside of London’. While work is still underway, 2018 could see significant progress in the build phase as the Paradise Birmingham landscape takes shape.

While Birmingham as a whole is undergoing huge changes, 2018 is a particularly important year for the retail sector which is finally seeing some vital developments coming to fruition. The Midlands Metro Alliance will have a huge impact, creating unprecedented levels of connectivity for Birmingham and key locations across the wider Midlands.

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