A guide to renting a shop in Glasgow

10th October 2022 | Phoebe Dobke

Thanks to its cultural institutions and luxury shopping districts, Glasgow has the largest economy in Scotland. With 2 million tourists each year, the city is the perfect location for retail shops of all sizes. From humble beginnings as a small village, Glasgow now serves as Scotland’s sports and entertainment hub, a centre for the arts, and a diverse place to shop. It was named the European Capital of Culture in 1990 and hosted the COP26 Climate Change Conference in 2021. Now the sixth most popular tourist destination in the UK, Glasgow is a flourishing urban centre with enormous retail business potential and a great selection of shops to rent.


Glasgow offers a wide variety of entertainment options. The Glasgow Botanic Gardens offer year-round greenery for nature enthusiasts to enjoy. The primary attraction and one of Britain’s largest glasshouses is Kibble Palace. It has a variety of rare orchids, Australian and New Zealand tree ferns, as well as species from the rest of the globe.

Recognised as Scotland’s music capital, Glasgow offers a vast selection of entertainment options for music fans of all types. One such venue is the Theatre Royal, which performs a wide range of drama, dance, comedy, and opera in its Victorian Auditorium. Or you could consider the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, home of the Royal Scottish Orchestra.

However, the most significant attraction is the 12th-century Glasgow Cathedral, also known as St. Mungo Cathedral or the High Kirk of Glasgow. Entrance to the Cathedral is free, as are its guided tours of St. Mungo’s tomb.


Working out your requirements is a good way to start looking for shops to rent in Glasgow. Your list may include:

  • Location

Consider your target market, and the best location to reach them. For example, if you are looking to attract students, you might want to look at spaces in the Hillhead neighbourhood, just walking distance from the University of Glasgow. You also want to make sure that you are easy to access, so setting up shop in Merchant City will ensure you have great links to the city centre transport.

  • Size and layout

You should also consider how much space you need for your business. The “sales per square foot” strategy is the most effective way to estimate how much retail space you’ll need. Find the typical “sales per square foot” for the sort of shop you’re starting. For example, if you want to open a coffee shop in Glasgow, you might find that the local average sales per square foot for coffee shops is £100. Then take your estimated annual income – let’s say you expect to make £200,000 annually, then divide 200,000 by 100. This means you would need about 2,000 square feet of space.

  • Facilities for employees and customers

If you’re interested in opening a restaurant, bar, or café, you should think about what facilities your customers will need. If you’ve found a well-located property that doesn’t have right facilities, you will need to discuss this with your landlord. For internal modifications, you shouldn’t need to get planning permission, unless it is a listed building. You can find more information about what improvements you can make here


Glasgow benefits from an effective transportation system that allows more than 1.5 million passengers to reach the city in only 45 minutes. Glasgow has two main train stations: Queen Street Station and Central Station. Together they carry 33 million people annually and offer more than 20 trains per day to London and eight trains per hour to Edinburgh.

Glasgow’s subway system provides a quick method to move about. It only takes 24 minutes to make a full circle of all 15 stops when running every 4 minutes during peak hours. This efficient and well-liked approach is ideal for both tourists and locals.

Glasgow’s high street

Glasgow is the largest retail district outside of London thanks to the diverse and trendy shops that the city offers. The main pedestrian route in Glasgow is Buchanan Street, which saw 52.7 million visitors in 2019—more than any other high street in the UK outside Oxford Street. One of the most well-known streets in the city, Sauchiehall Street, offers tourists a wide selection of restaurants and the chance to see live performances from national and international musicians.

Shopping centres

Glasgow Fort is a popular shopping and entertainment with a variery of shops to rent. Bright, sleek, and roomy, it features over 100 high street and top brand retailers, restaurants, and cafés. The centre has been transformed over the last few years after introducing a large leisure extension comprising of a cinema, 9 new restaurants and parking with over 2,500 spaces. Located 2 miles east of the city centre on the A96 Nairn Road Glasgow Fort is also easily accessible from Junction 10 of the M8, it is also accessible by foot, by bicycle, and by public transportation.

Scotland’s favourite shopping centre, Princes Square is located on Buchanan Street in the heart of Glasgow. It is regarded as a high fashion destination since it has a large selection of internationally popular boutiques. The original structures were finished in 1841, but they underwent a £7.5 million renovation in recent years to become the upscale shopping attraction they are today.

St Enoch is located at the intersection of Buchanan Street and Argyle Street, two of Glasgow’s most popular shopping avenues.  The eateries and coffee shops of Merchant City and George Square’s cultural architecture are close by. The upper mall is the perfect location for local businesses to thrive in a bustling mixed-use environment. St. Enoch is the most exciting location in the city for small companies to expand as it provides independent retailers and start-ups excellent service providers with prominent, reasonably priced, and adaptable retail space. Over 70 of the most popular retail brands in the UK are represented in the centre, which also welcomed a new restaurant district and a 46,000 square foot department store in 2021.


Calculating the percentage of your income that would go toward rent can help you compare properties and make sure they are within your budget. Take the properties rent per square foot and divide that by your sales per square foot to give you the percentage. As a rule of thumb, retail businesses typically spend 5-10% of their income on rent.

Fitting out your shop can also be costly, especially if you are a first-time shop owner. The average costs of a shop fitting per square foot in the UK are

  • Low specification – £60 per sq ft
  • Medium specification – £90 per sq ft
  • High specification – £140 per sq ft

To compare prices and get the best deal, it is a good idea to do your homework and ask for quotes from a variety of tradespeople. You can also save money by purchasing from websites that sell used goods. It is also essential to think about basic utilities like water, gas, electricity, internet, and insurance. You can read more tips on opening your first shop here.

Agents with Glasgow offices

Glasgow is one of the most in demand and successful retail hotspots in the UK. If you’re ready to contact commercial agents to help you find shops to rent in Glasgow, agents in the area include:



Avison Young




Over 1.6 million

Annual visitors

2 million

Properties on Completely Retail


You can see a great selection of shops to let in Glasgow on Completely Retail here.


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