Published Tuesday, 14 August 2012
The Colliers International Midsummer Retail Report was published on Tuesday. (© Getty)
While the internet is also influencing consumer spending, Victoria Square in Belfast, which offers a mix of high end retail and leisure, has most influenced shoppers' opinions.
The Colliers International Midsummer Retail Report was published on Tuesday.
Jonathan Millar, Head of Retail at Colliers, Belfast, said that consumers in general are looking for a wider retail offer, for example, a shopping day out with visits to restaurants, cinemas and theatres in a desirable environment.
"Victoria Square is clearly drawing from a wide provincial catchment and through its leisure offer is able to retain customers for longer thereby securing a bigger spend."
The report highlighted that there have been over 45 UK retail business failures within the last 12 months most of which have affected the city of Belfast and the region's provincial towns.
Bon Marche, Pumpkin Patch, Past Times, La Senza, Clinton Cards and Jane Norman are just some of the businesses which ceased trading in recent months.
According to Colliers, the race to clone towns through redevelopment has largely extinguished the individuality of many of Northern Ireland's market towns.
Mr Millar added that there has been a fall in rents across the region and in some locations this could be as much as 50%.
He predicted: "The Northern Ireland occupier retail market will remain challenging with little improvement until 2014/2015. The market will not revert back to the heady days of long leases, three-month rent-free periods and rocketing increases in capital values.
"Realistic lease terms and revised valuation techniques must be adopted."
The Quays Shopping Centre in Newry has bucked the trend -announcing the arrival of a number of new retailers and the creation of up to 75 retail jobs.
Danish childrenswear retailer Name It, Sports Direct, and Sabino Hairdressing are among those opening soon at the Quays.
Eddie Cull, Retail Director, said: "This welcome boost for the local economy comes at a time when good news is all too often in short supply.
"The Quays knows the importance of being forward looking and creative when meeting ever evolving market conditions, if we are to achieve success in challenging times."