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Belgium Retail City Guides Belgium Retail City Guides


Belgium Retail City Guides

Some insights on the actual situation of the main retail cities in Belgium as well as some previsions for future occupiers and investors on how these areas will perform in terms of leasing and investment. 

Antwerp, with more than 530,000 inhabitants, is the 2nd biggest Belgian city. Inhabitants and tourists can enjoy more than 10,000 retail units, a very large spectre of retail, going from mass-market to luxury or a massively expanding Food & Beverage sector in one of the most vibrant Belgian retail city.

The historic city centre (Meir, Schutterhofstraat, Huidevetterstraat, Wilde zee…) offers a robust commercial mix, combining international and local brands’ flagship stores. These last months, the arrival of qualitative F&B operators, different boutiques and concept stores contributed to the strong retail dynamic and reinforced the attractivity of the city.

Wijnegem – Shop Eat Enjoy, located in the Western periphery of Antwerp, is the biggest Belgian shopping centre. With a perfect retail mix, this is a vibrant complement to the city centre.

Finally, some of the major retail parks or retail warehouses’ clusters are to be found along the major road axes, adding value to Antwerp’ diversified retail offer. 


Brussels, with a population of 1,228,000 inhabitants, is not only the biggest city in Belgium but also the capital of the European Union. It is a city that is known for its cultural diversity and rich history, and is a popular destination for tourists from around the world, with an average of 5,000,000 tourists per year.

The Brussels retail landscape is well defined at the time being. 

The city centre is divided between Brussels DownTown (Rue Neuve, Sainte-Catherine, Rue des Fripiers and the Shopping Centre City 2) and the Brussels UpTown (Porte de Namur, Avenue Louise and Avenue de la Toison d’Or / Boulevard de Waterloo). 

The city's retail scene is also bustling, with over 1,006,000 monthly footfall on the Rue Neuve alone, one of the busiest shopping streets in the country. Brussels benefits from 4 big inner-city Shopping Centres, namely City 2 which is the second-largest shopping center in Belgium, Docks Bruxsel, W Shopping Centre and Westland Shopping Centre. These Shopping Centres complement the Brussels retail landscape by proposing strong commercial mix and leisure activities.  

In addition to being the largest city in Belgium and a thriving retail and tourism hub, Brussels is also projected to experience population growth in the coming years. By 2030, the city's population is expected to increase by 2.4%. 


Ghent is located in the heart of one of the most concentrated urban area in Belgium and Europe; forming a triangle with Brussels and Antwerp. With 260,000 inhabitants, Ghent is the third biggest Belgian city.

The city and its suburbs are logically amongst Europe’s wealthiest with a wide range of industrial and services-based activities, including a leading university (Ghent University), hosting around 75,000 students and numerous research and academic centres. Its people therefore enjoy an average income 10% above the national average. 

Retail spending is also way above national standards. Its economic dynamism continues to attract demographic flows. Its city centre is often considered as one of the most lively in the country since the municipality preserved it from outside competition and improves and refurbishes urban amenities continuously. 

The average purchasing power is at €21.600 per inhabitant, which is above the Belgian average. Its population counts around 963,00 inhabitants within a 30 minutes drivetime.

The different High Streets in the city centre provide a very large spectre of retail, going to mass-market to “alternative” retailers. Food & Beverage is massively expending, namely around the Korenmarkt. 

Over 1,300,000 tourists stay overnight in Ghent each year. Its city centre is hence a key location of most international retailers in Belgium and most of them are present in its main high streets. 


Mechelen, located in Flanders between Brussels and Antwerp, is the 10th biggest Belgian city. In a 20 minutes drivetime, around 430,000 inhabitants can enjoy a vibrant retail market. A strong and diversified retail landscape, a dynamic take-up and a vacancy rate close to 0% attract retailers and investors in the different High Streets of the city as well as Out-of-Town retail parks.

The Ijzerenleen and the Bruul, the two most famous retail streets of the city, benefit from a robust commercial mix, combining international and local brands. These last months, they also observed the arrival of qualitative F&B chains (Hawaiian Poké Bowl, Wasbar…), different boutiques and concept stores, new retailers (Bang & Olufsen, Dille & Kamille) on the Ijzerenleen and sport and leisure activities (Basic-Fit, Decathlon, Courir, Snipes…) on the Bruul. The dynamic retail market contributes to a slight increase of rental values these last months.

Eager to know more about Mechelen?



Jean Baheux
Jean Baheux

Partner, Head of Retail Agency, Out-of-Town leasing
Brussels, Belgium

+32 2 514 40 00

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