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.