2 May 2022/ Retail Guide

Find your next retail property to rent in Birmingham

Find your next retail property in Birmingham

With high streets facing unprecedented challenges, finding the right retail space to suit your needs is vital. Although the pandemic has led to a temporary slowdown in the prices of retail units across the UK, the price per square foot of retail property remains extremely high. To access prime rental spaces in London, businesses are being asked to pay many hundreds, even thousands, of pounds, making London’s retail rents the highest in Europe. Priced out of the capital, businesses are turning to the rest of the UK to find their rental spaces.

One of the UK’s largest cities, Birmingham has a rich commercial heritage. At the heart of Britain’s industrial revolution, it has long been a centre of wealth and commerce, and while many of the industries that powered Birmingham’s growth have declined, the city has resurfaced in recent years thanks to major regeneration projects. In the midst of a resurgence, Birmingham is once again becoming one of the UK’s foremost retailing hubs – and all for an average price per square foot of only £24.66.

Conveniently situated in the West Midlands with extremely good connections to nearby towns and cities, such as Wolverhampton and Coventry, Birmingham already boasts some of the highest-footfall retailing areas in the country. From the bustling Bullring, the UK’s largest city shopping centre, to thriving independent arcades and streets, Birmingham has a wide range of versatile retail spaces spread across the city.

From flagship high street stores to artisan shopping quarters and independent arcades, you could find your next retailing unit in Birmingham.

Retail spaces in Birmingham

Thanks to the city’s revival in recent years, a new range of luxury and modern retailing spaces have been built, complementing the historic areas of commerce for which the city is already known.

The Bullring is Birmingham’s retailing pride. The largest city centre shopping hub in the UK, its origins date back hundreds of years, with the modern regeneration project welcoming more than 36.5 million people every year. Housing flagship stores, such as one of the four Selfridges departments, the Bullring is home to around 200 different retailing units, amassing over 1.5 million square feet of retailing space. It is one of the UK’s most visited, most famous retailing centres.

And while the Bullring remains a shopping centre with national importance, new sites have sprung up in recent years offering their own novel experiences. The famous Mailbox and its adjacent developments, such as The Cube, are multi-functional developments, mixing office and leisure space with retail units. With an emphasis on premium retailers, Mailbox is home to a flagship Harvey Nichols store that covers more than 45,000 square feet of space.

For smaller spaces that are better suited to independent businesses, there are a wide range of independent markets across the city, as well as the notable Piccadilly Arcade which houses more than a dozen independent retailers.

At the heart of Birmingham’s retailing reputation, however, is the jewellery quarter. Once employing an estimated 30,000 people at the height of its reputation, the jewellery quarter remains the most concentrated area of jewellery businesses in Europe. Producing 40% of all the jewellery made in the UK, this area is perfect for independent jewellery retailers.

Getting around Birmingham

A well-connected rail system

Birmingham is one of the UK’s rail hubs. Connecting London and the South to the North and Scotland, Birmingham has some of the busiest rail stations outside of London. The first phase of High Speed Rail 2 (HS2), due for completion before 2033, will run through an expanded Birmingham Curzon Street rail station, right in the heart of the city. By substantially cutting commuting times between Birmingham and London, the project could add between 2.1% and 4.2% to Birmingham’s economy and will undoubtedly benefit retailers near the project. Since the unveiling of HS2’s route to Birmingham, the areas around Birmingham Curzon Street have become a hotbed of activity for retailers looking to secure new premises in the area. To make the most of this future demand, find a retail property in Birmingham.

Beyond HS2, Birmingham has a number of smaller rail stations offering local journeys, while the largest and newly renovated Birmingham New Street runs transnational routes to destinations across the UK.

A comprehensive bus network

Birmingham has a comprehensive bus network that connects suburban areas to central locations and is used by thousands of people every day. In addition to running routes in and around the city, there are also some bus routes that connect Birmingham to the nearby satellite towns of Dudley and Walsall, as well as cities such as Wolverhampton and Coventry.

An international airport

Birmingham International Airport is to the south of the city and ensures a steady supply of goods and people arrive in Birmingham. Only a short distance from the city centre, importing goods from abroad is seamless, with travellers arriving from around the world quickly finding themselves in the heart of the city in a matter of moments.

Amenities in Birmingham

An industrial hub

With a wealth of industrial heritage powering the city and its people, it’s no surprise that this strategically important city is once again an industrial powerhouse of the UK. With close connections to the vital M40 taking traffic directly to London, industrial parks such as Kingslow Industrial Estate and Mucklow Park are some of the sought-after industrial properties in Birmingham. The closest industrial park to Birmingham International Airport is Birmingham Business Park, which offers a quick and seamless offloading of goods into nearby storage.

There is an additional concentration of industrial space to the north of the city, in areas such as Aston and the motorways to Walsall and Wolverhampton.

Thriving office spaces

As is to be expected with any city the size of Birmingham, there are many thriving office spaces to be found across the centre and beyond. Reflecting traditional and modern co-working spaces, there is a wide range of versatile office spaces in Birmingham. From city central offices such as Brindleyplace, Mailbox to Victoria House, to more suburban locations such as Solihull and Sutton Coldfield, there is a wide range of premium and affordable office spaces whatever your budget.

Excellent hotel experiences

Birmingham’s regeneration is drawing more and more domestic and international tourists to its doors. This uptick in activity means that hotels are growing by the dozen. For affordable short stays, travellers could look to more budget-friendly hotels such as Travelodge, Holiday Inn and Hotel ibis Budget. While at the other end of the spectrum, hotels such as Hyatt Regency and Hotel Indigo offer a premium experience.

Notable retailers in Birmingham

Thanks to its importance as an industrial hub, Birmingham has a wide range of high-profile retailers running flagship stores in the city. And although the pandemic has undoubtedly had an impact on the city’s retail spaces, there is no shortage of mixed-use developments and dedicated spaces for retailers to consider. Some of the city’s leading retailers are:

  • Harvey Nichols
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Primark
  • John Lewis
  • Selfridges

As a hotspot for retail spaces in the West Midlands, there are also a number of notable commercial agents that can help you find the right retail property for you:

  • Jackson Criss
  • Cushman & Wakefield
  • Knight Frank
  • Avison Young
  • Savills

Birmingham’s retail sector

  • Birmingham is home to the world’s biggest Primark.
  • Frasers Group is planning to build a landmark 60,000-foot retail building in Birmingham.
  • Located near the eventual HS2 site, a multi-million regeneration of Martineau Galleries will see the creation of 1.4 million square feet of office and retail space.
  • In the five years of up 2019, the Birmingham economy grew by 27.7%, and was valued at £28.1 billion.
  • Research undertaken by Hammerson – the operator of the Bullring and Grand Central shopping centres – shows that Birmingham retailers perform 46% better than the national average when it comes to sale densities.
  • Birmingham is the youngest major city in Europe, with under 25s accounting for nearly 40% of its population.

Where to learn more

Realla’s analysis of the UK’s commercial and industrial property markets helps you get the information you need. For more insight into UK property, learn about the emerging ESG trends within the market or have a look at some of the key trends emerging in 2022’s property market.