Economy of Manchester
The economy of Manchester is amongst the largest in England. The city lies at the heart of one of Europe's largest metropolitan areas, Greater Manchester, with a population of 2.6 million. The city is also part of the recently formed Manchester City Region with a population of approximately 3.2 million and aims to fuel economic growth with the surrounding areas of Greater Manchester. The central business districts in Manchester are Spinningfields and Corridor Manchester and manufacturing sites include Trafford Park.
Historically, the world's first industrialised city, the region was once in economic decline. Greater Manchester has since developed a diversified, dynamic economy with little reliance on one sector. The region is now an economic centre for the cultural industries, media, real estate, financial services, legal services, manufacturing. Its economy features 65 of the FTSE 100 companies.
In a poll of British business leaders published in 2006, Manchester was regarded as the best place in the UK to locate a business. In 2010 it was ranked the second-best city in the UK to locate a business, and the twelfth-best city in Europe. A report commissioned by Manchester Partnership, published in 2007, showed Manchester to be the "fastest-growing city" economically. It is the third most visited city in the United Kingdom by foreign visitors after London and Edinburgh.
The late 2000s recession generated an economic contraction across all UK regions with Manchester included, however Scotland and the North West England, which Manchester is situated in contracted the least in 2009 according to GVA. In late 2010 and 2011 employment in Manchester remains volatile, but has been steadily increasing bucking the employment rise trend in North West England.
The city and Greater Manchester region have benefited from large-scale developments such as Metrolink expansion, the £650m MediaCityUK development and the largest development outside South East England in NOMA, Manchester at a cost of £800m. Future developments include the £650m Manchester Airport City, the Etihad Campus project in conjunction with Manchester City F.C. and the £50 billion Atlantic Gateway project which aims to reinvigorate the Manchester Ship Canal.
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There is a large disparity between the south and north of Greater Manchester - with the south (which includes the boroughs of Manchester, Stockport and Trafford) nearly double the GVA of the north of Greater Manchester.
The south of Greater Manchester includes the City of Manchester - the financial heart of the north, Trafford with Trafford Park - a major industrial park nationally and Stockport which has a low unemployment.
Overall Greater Manchester produced £46,189m of the North West's £116,466m GVA output in 2007 - with North West of England producing the 3rd highest GVA after London and the South East accounting for 10% of the United Kingdom's total GVA.
Manchester is the second most visited city in England (after London) and the third most visited in the United Kingdom (behind Edinburgh).
The pedestrianised Market Street forms the core of the city centre's retail area. It is dominated on the north side by the Manchester Arndale and a branch of Debenhams. The city centre also has smaller centres including The Triangle, which caters to youthful and upmarket clientele, and the Royal Exchange Centre. The Shambles includes Harvey Nichols, Marks and Spencer, and Selfridges stores, as well as a number of designer boutiques. Overall, Manchester has the highest number of "premium retailers" and in 2010 turnover in Manchester city centre was £921m.
Deansgate also has many shops, including department store House of Fraser (formerly Kendals), along with pubs and bars. King Street is an affluent shopping area with exclusive fashion brand stores, as well as many notable buildings preserved in a conservation area. Other hubs in the centre include St Ann's Square, and Exchange Square.
There are various markets held regularly within the city. In the run up to Christmas, the Manchester Christmas Markets take over Albert Square, St. Ann's Square and surrounding streets. It started as a traditional German/French Christmas market, hence the large number of Glühwein & sausage stalls. This has grown year on year and boasts an increasingly wide range of stalls from Western Europe (such as the Netherlands, Italy, Spain). The markets provide food and drink into the evening extending the use of the city centre and lending a friendly spirit to Christmas shopping.
Manchester is a focus for businesses which serve local, regional and international markets. In 2008, the city was the fifth-largest financial centre in the United Kingdom outside London with more than 96,300 people employed in banking, finance and insurance. The Co-operative Group, the world's largest consumer-owned business, is based in Manchester and is one of the city's biggest employers. Legal, accounting, management consultancy and other professional and technical services exist in Manchester.
Spinningfields is a large new business centre west of Deansgate that will serve as home to several headquarters, squares, and cafes. The first building on the site was the Royal Bank of Scotland's new headquarters. Some have speculated that Spinningfields is fast becoming the Canary Wharf of the North, with the Financial Times noting, "London has Canary Wharf and Paris has La Défense, Manchester has its own modern financial centre in the form of Spinningfields".
Manchester currently has the largest development outside South East England at NOMA in Manchester city centre. Despite other largest developments projects such as MediaCityUK, the Etihad Campus development, Atlantic Gateway and Metrolink expansion around the city, experts have claimed that construction North West England will contract until 2015.
Manchester is also home to a burgeoning community of digital companies, specialising in fields as diverse as SEO (search engine optimisation), web design and online PR. The rise of Manchester's digital commerce scene is evidenced by the establishment of its own online hub Manchester Digital, along with websites aimed at bringing together companies and individuals involved in more specific fields, such as SEO.
The city has links with Umbro and Reebok, both companies were founded nearby in Wilmslow and Bolton respectively. Another major sports apparel company, Adidas, has its UK head office in Stockport and its national distribution warehouse in nearby Trafford Park - both site total 60% of Adidas's UK workforce.
Manchester is also popularly known for its major football clubs, Manchester City and Manchester United, both have a combined revenue of €536.6m (Manchester City - €169.6m and Manchester United - €367m). Both clubs popularity places Manchester as the second richest footballing city in the UK by revenue. Only London, with three clubs (€681.9m - total revenue of Chelsea F.C., Arsenal F.C. and Tottenham Hotspur) can boast better figures according to the 2010-11 Deloitte Money League table.
Food and drink
Manchester has a range of restaurants, bars, and clubs, spanning the famous "Curry Mile" in Rusholme to traditional ‘grub’. The Chinatown area of the city features many oriental foods. Modern bars and bistros line Deansgate Locks in the city centre. In addition to these there are many independent fast food retailers throughout Manchester. There are now many top class restaurants.
The city is also home to some famous food manufacturing companies. Kellogg's have based their European headquarters in Trafford Park since 1937. It is currently the largest cereal factory in the world, with Corn Flakes the most widely produced product. McVitie's also has a key production site in Stockport Road where it has been based since 1917.
Manchester is a central hub in the North of England for transport with the largest airport in the UK outside of London, Manchester Airport. The airport is a public sector controlled by the holding company, Manchester Airports Group. Manchester City Council has a majority 55% stake with the remaining 45% controlled by the nine boroughs of Greater Manchester who all have a 5% stake. The airport employs approximately 19,000 people and annually carries around 21 million passengers a year - over double its nearest rival.
The city is served by the Metrolink system which stretches from Bury in the north to Salford, Eccles to the west and Altrincham in the south. There are works in place to extend the Metrolink service to other parts of the city.
The cities bus services, GM Buses were demerged in 1996 with Stagecoach Group gaining control of the GM South bus services and First Bus gaining GM Bus' gaining GM North bus services. Stagecoach Manchester is the Stagecoach Group's their largest subsidiary carrying over 87 million passengers a year and employing 1,700 staff. First Greater Manchester also operate a thorough bus service in Manchester alongside Stagecoach.
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