Rod Holmes, project director of Grosvenor's Liverpool One and, since 1 October, chairman of The Mersey Partnership, believes the city will enter the top three in Experian's Retail Ranking next year.
In 2008, Liverpool leapt ten places from 15th to 5th, displacing Nottingham in the top five, thanks mainly due to the opening of Grosvenor's £1bn, 1.6m sq ft project around Paradise Street.
The step up to 3rd would mean displacing Manchester. This year the top five was London West End, Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, in that order.
Speaking at a media briefing on plans by TMP and partners for tourism in 2009, Holmes said: "It is my hunch that by this time next year Liverpool will be the third most important shopping centre in the country."
Holmes said Liverpool would still be behind London West End and Glasgow. The 175 units of Liverpool One were 92% let when the second phase opened in October. Around 30 tenants have yet to start trading although many of them are still planning to open before Christmas. Some have decided to take advantage of the rent-free period and not borrow the necessary fit-out funds needed to launch a new store during the economic downturn.
Experian ranks cities by a detailed criteria that includes number of department stores, overall trading floor space, quality independent retailers, number of major multiples and comparison stores.