Antoine ADAM
Business development manager- Manufacturing/MRE

A thriving city centre!

With a market of 1.5 million consumers within a radius of 100 km, the dynamic demographics of the metro area and its growing economic influence make Nantes Saint-Nazaire a popular location for retail businesses. In Nantes and Saint-Nazaire, the major commercial hubs in the Loire-Atlantique department, the local government supports change, in particular by consolidating the growing demand for commercial property in the city centre. 

High population growth

The Nantes Saint-Nazaire metro area has about 800,000 inhabitants and will add 150,000 people by 2030. By expanding the catchment area to encompass a radius of 100 kilometres, there are more than 1.5 million potential consumers.

The city centres are economically attractive

The heritage of the city centres boosts their commercial appeal. The protected sector in Nantes is one of the largest in France with 126 hectares, and urban planning here has created a successful balance between revitalization and preservation. Similarly, development in downtown Saint-Nazaire promotes greater accessibility.

Dynamic retailer networks

The retail sector in Nantes Saint-Nazaire promotes collective work, in close collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the cities. In Nantes, the association Plein Centre boosts cohesion among downtown retailers, and Unacod (Nantes Retail Union) brings together more than 50 associations and 900 retailers. In Saint-Nazaire, the association Vitrines comprises more than 130 retailers.

Retail shops in the city centre are more than holding their own in Nantes Saint-Nazaire. In Loire-Atlantique, the majority of retail businesses are smaller than 300 m2, two-thirds of shops are located in the city and town centres and local neighbourhoods. Almost half of the retail businesses are located in the greater Nantes area, and 12% are in Saint-Nazaire. Pharmacies (30%) and food retailers (22%) account for the majority of businesses smaller than 300 m2. In contrast, the space devoted to culture and leisure products has declined steadily due to competition from e-commerce.

Concerted development within a catchment area

The businesses in the outlying areas represent 55% of the total space and only 18% of the points of sale. In the city centre, the offering is designed to be more diverse: there are a large number of retail businesses, although they occupy only 30% of total space and only 15% in the greater Nantes area. The local governments in Nantes Saint-Nazaire have defined a common strategy for retail business locations. A consultation was conducted, resulting in a major principle: reduce competition within the same catchment area.

Rein in retail development in the outlying areas

In 2012, Nantes adopted a retail urban planning scheme to increase the retail offering in central areas (downtown and local neighbourhoods) and rein in retail development in the outlying areas. Emphasis was placed on accessibility and conviviality. Major redevelopment work has been undertaken in the city centre. A reflecting pool was built just opposite the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany, and the main shopping streets as well as Place Royale and Place Graslin were made pedestrian. The recent redevelopment work on the Cours des 50 Otages, which runs through the very centre of Nantes, promotes soft mobility and provides better access between the main shopping areas. 

In Saint-Nazaire, the link between the city centre and the port area

Supported by a development strategy, retail business in Saint-Nazaire is undergoing extensive changes. Over twenty years ago, the Le Paquebot shopping centre opened in downtown Saint-Nazaire. It was intended to revitalize retail in the city. It is now well integrated in the urban landscape. Many developments (pedestrianization, the bus HélYce) have changed the appearance of the city centre even more. The Ruban Bleu, another urban shopping centre, links the centre and the port area. The goal is to increase the retail offering between these two infrastructure facilities.

Key figures


4,000 jobs in Nantes and 4,000 in Saint-Nazaire


retail businesses. The Nantes-Saint-Nazaire metro area alone boasts 4,600 points of sale


million people in the catchment area.

Carré Feydeau
Delivered in early 2014, the Carré Feydeau is a downtown development composed of a luxury apartment building and 13,000 m2 of retail space, which is a unique offering in the city centre.
Passage Coeur de Nantes
In Nantes, the famous Passage Pommeraye, a listed building, has been expanded to include a new shopping arcade. This passage called Cœur de Nantes offers a dozen spaces of different sizes, for a total area of 3,600 m2. Twenty-five luxury apartments rise above the new passage.
Passage de la Châtelaine
Having been ravaged by fire in 2012, Le Passage de la Châtelaine in Nantes has reopened. Located between the Place Royale and Place Graslin, this arcade recreates an authentic indoor street across two levels. Shops and residential properties combine to occupy a total of 3,000 m².
Le Ruban Bleu
It bears the name of the trophy won by the cruise ship that beat the record for crossing the Atlantic. The Ruban Bleu is a shopping centre that links the centre and the port area in Saint-Nazaire. This shopping arcade boasts 40 shops and 7 restaurants spread over 18,000 m2.