Retail: grow your business in the UK

  • third in the world for online to consumer sales- the largest e-commerce market in Europe
  • a luxury goods market estimated to reach 96 billion GBP in value by 2018
  • world-renowned heritage and high quality brands
3rd in the world for online business-to-consumer sales
  • UK retail: at a glance

    UK consumers have the highest online spend per head in the world at over 3,500 USD per year.

    London, Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester feature in the top 20 for retail spend across Europe with Leeds, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Cardiff and Newcastle in the top 50. Each city has its own ecosystem and sub-sector strengths echoing the clusters in London.

    London is the most popular city for investment in retail, featuring more international brands than in any other city in the world. London also offers a more complete retail picture than its global competitors. Brands have built up a long history of success in London thanks to a diverse, fashionable consumer base and a continued rise in tourism.

    High-fashion brands can be found throughout the UK, including Paul Smith and Burberry. E-commerce companies like Yoox Net-A-Porter, Alibaba and Etsy are also based here.

    The UK enjoys a world-class reputation for its quality and innovation-driven retail industry. It is an early adopter of new technology and is a leading nation for using data applications like Metail which supply a virtual 3D fitting room for its customers.

  • Locations

    The UK’s key strengths in retail include:

    • high street and premium brands
    • third in the world for online B2C sales
    • London: home to both the highest number of international retail brands in the world, and one of the ‘Big Four’ fashion events, London Fashion Week
    • luxury retail - hotspots include London, Edinburgh in Scotland, Bicester Village, Bristol and Bath in South of England and Leeds in North of England
    • Scotland, The Midlands and North of England are home to thriving high-quality knitwear, cashmere, wool, and footwear manufacturers and companies
    • Manchester in North of England - one of several cities offering a strong centre for e-commerce innovation and distribution
  • Next steps

    We can help you grow your business in the UK

    Whether you’ve already decided to grow your business here or you’re just starting your research, the UK government can help you make the right decision.

    Research your industry

    You should research your market to help you decide if the UK is the best place for your business. Contact our Investment Services Team to get market research and other expert help and advice.

    Want to move your business to the UK?

    You’ll need to follow several steps before moving to the UK, including applying for visas and finding the ideal location for your business. Read our UK setup guide.

    The UK government can give you free help and support every step of the way. Contact us to find out more.