What type of shop is Manchester missing?

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If you wanted a shop to let in Manchester, what would it be? Well, let us take a look at Manchester and see what it is made of.


Over 7 million people live within an hour’s drive of the city centre and Greater Manchester is the commercial hub for nearly 2.7 million people. Arguably the UK’s second city, Manchester boasts a diverse range of cultures and ethnic groups, each with their own areas of retail and commerce. Manchester’s Chinatown is the second largest in the UK. The city’s economy is built around retail and the service industry, so you would expect every aspect to be covered.

Current Retail Profile

From the Arndale to Affleck’s, Manchester has a massive range of retail options, from global designer stores to small, independent shops. With the Metrolink tram line due to run through to the Intu Trafford Centre in 2020, this will provide easy access to a further 180,000 sqm of retail space to Manchester’s shoppers. The Arndale alone has 41 million visitors a year, and the Trafford Centre 31 million.

So What Is Missing?

Whether it’s food, drink, clothes, shoes, music, books, you name it, it would seem that Manchester has it all. But has it? If I was looking for a shop to let in Manchester, I would be looking for a niche market that is barely touched let alone flooded. One idea would be the good old fashioned hardware store! The kind of shop made famous by The Two Ronnies in their legendary “Four Candles” sketch. Seriously, where can you buy a pack of screws or a dimmable light switch in the same shop?

What about those who live in the city centre?

Manchester city centre is home to over half a million residents packed into 9 square miles. The average age is around 30, and many of these do not own a car because of the limited parking in the apartment blocks that now dominate the Manchester skyline. Whilst there are many small local shops to buy food and beverages, outside of The Arndale there is a lack of stores selling practical everyday consumables. The hardware store is just one of several niche markets where there is scope to develop.

Niche Markets

To get some idea of the many niches you need go no further than the Northern Quarter. Take a look at what is doing well there and think about whether this can be replicated elsewhere. If you need help finding a shop to let in Manchester, there are many agencies out there to help, just Google it.