Shops bring in investors in emerging property markets

Property investors with a keen eye for the next 'hot' market are expected to follow the trend of retailers who are looking to emerging markets for growth.

As the economic downturn continues to tighten belts in the Western World almost half of retailers expect other markets to be their main source of growth over the next five years, according to research by CB Richard Ellis.

The company found that Eastern Europe, the Middle East and the Far East are the targets. With retail sales growing rapidly in emerging economies such as Brazil, Russia, India and China the big players like Wal-Mart, Tesco and Marks & Spencer are leading the way by partnering with local companies.

Its Global Emerging Markets Survey looked at 300 retailers worldwide, representing 25,000 stores. India was identified as the most sought-after market as 27% of international retailers have opened a first store there in the last year or plan to do so. Ukraine came second and Russia third.

Thailand, Mexico, China and countries in Africa are also being closely watched and scoured for opportunities.

According to Adie Roundhouse, a property consultant based in Hong Kong, where the retailers are looking are also good bets for property investors seeking the next hot spot. 'These are global players who know what they are doing. They are seeking to invest in markets where people have money to spend,' she said.

'A canny property investor will do the same.'