Cushman & Wakefield's latest research on the rents in the main retail high streets of the world claims the tone of Zone A rents on Manchester's prime strip was down 7.1% in the past year to £260/sq ft in June 2010.
In 59 countries covered, 20 recorded falls in rents over the year to June with Latin America and Asia-Pacific the only regions to show positive rental growth. Europe as a whole registered a decline in rents of 4.4%. Manchester's downward move follows a 6.7% drop the previous year according to the same researchers.
Luke Miotte, a retail real estate director at law firm McGrigors' Manchester office, said: "The research seems to demonstrate that consumer confidence is still fragile and that this is having a knock-on effect on rental prices for the world's top retail locations.
"Where prices have gone up, it's generally indicative of demand for prime locations outstripping supply. However, that tends not to be the case in much of the UK. Some established retailers operating in the UK have had a tough time and that has impacted upon rental prices. However, it has also created opportunities for smaller and growing retailers to take advantage of decreasing rates – giving them a platform for growth which might not otherwise have existed.
"Manchester seems to be remaining competitive compared to the likes of Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow which have also seen drops."
Vaughan Allen, chief executive of Cityco, Manchester's city centre Management company, said: "Compared to many other cities, confidence is still high in Manchester. The major stores including Debenhams, House of Fraser Kendals and Selfridges are investing in multi-million pound refits and The Avenue is opening with a new high-end offer."