Leeds shopping: ‘City lags behind Manchester’

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Leeds is improving as a retail destination but still has some way to go to catch up to Manchester, one of the city’s leading property developers has claimed.

Edward Ziff, chairman and chief executive of Town Centre Securities (TCS), said that Leeds was disadvantaged by having a lower level of consumer spending than seen across the Pennines and that, while the opening of Trinity Leeds and Victoria Gate had helped propel Leeds up the rankings, it was still languishing behind Manchester.

The businessman also said that the market for commercial property remained buoyant across the North of England but that repressed rental growth was still a factor outside London and the South East.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post from his firm’s offices in Merrion House, he said: “We have had some decent occupiers come along in Leeds. But Manchester is still a long way ahead of us.

“Leeds was probably at one stage a top five retail city and it had probably fallen to eight, nine or 10, prior to the opening of Trinity and Victoria Gate.

“It is improving but whether we will get to catch up again is another matter.

“Consumer spending ability affects it. There perhaps are not enough wealthy people in Leeds, for me there is not the volume of wealth that there is in and around Manchester.

“Compare house prices in the choice suburbs of Leeds with the equivalents in Manchester, they are in a different league.

“You can’t just jump from being a top ten city to a top five city.”

TCS last week completed the sale two commercial properties in central Edinburgh for a total of £2m, higher than valuations carried out shortly after the British vote to leave the European Union.

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