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City management and retail

Attractive shopping city

Bonn's city center is the main center of the Bonn/Rhein-Sieg/Ahrweiler region. Its catchment area extends from Much to Rheinbach and from Wesseling to Remagen. At the same time, it is the A center of the city of Bonn under planning law in the sense of the retail and center concept, which will be revised in 2023 and adapted to current developments; the three B centers are Bad Godesberg, Beuel and Duis-dorf. All four centers are characterized by a high quality of life and a diverse range of restaurants and retail outlets.

High purchasing power and employment

According to forecasts by MB Research, the population in the Bonn/Rhein-Sieg region had a general purchasing power of around 25.8 billion Euro in 2022, with Bonn accounting for 9.6 billion Euro of this. Per capita, the general purchasing power of the Bonn population was 28,549 Euro, 1,675 Euro higher than the purchasing power in the Rhein-Sieg district at 26,874 Euro. The purchasing power index for the city of Bonn was 112.7 points (Rhein-Sieg district: 106.1), well above the national average (= 100 points). On June 30, 2022, a total of 14,022 employees subject to social security contributions worked in Bonn's retail sector. Compared with the previous year, this represents a slight increase of plus 0.4 percent or 62 employees.

Global influencing factors and their consequences for Bonn

The Corona pandemic, with its outwardly visible manifestations such as lock-downs, access restrictions in stores and restaurants, mandatory masks, etc., had contributed significantly since the spring of 2020 to an acceleration of developments that had already been observed before:

  • The growth of retail sales took place almost exclusively on the Internet,
  • former retail spaces were given over to other uses, especially gastronomy.

Since the spring of 2022, the consequences of the war of aggression on Ukraine, increased inflation and other influencing factors have continued to take their toll on the stationary retail trade in Bonn as well. For example, the insolvencies of large retail chains have not passed this city by. However, in many vacant store spaces, commercial and cultural enterprises are settling by relocating within the city, but companies new to Bonn are also coming to the city center. The university, which will be closed for renovation in the next ten years or so, is renting numerous properties in the city center and will contribute to the attractiveness of the pedestrian zone with its museums.

Frequencies of passers-by in the city center of Bonn

Since May 2018, there have been three frequency measuring systems in Bonn's city center that count the moving people around the clock. The City Management of the Economic Development Department regularly evaluates this data, which is freely available on the Internet. The data is a very good basis for observing the frequencies both during the course of the day and over a longer period of time. 

Moderate increase in vacancies

While retail space in Bonn's city center has generally been fully leased in recent decades, a certain moderate vacancy rate has set in over the past few months and the search for new tenants has become more difficult. The situation in the city district centers varied: While Beuel is almost fully let, an increase in vacancies was observed in Bad Godesberg and Hardtberg.


The Bonn Economic Development Agency is the point of contact for the (ge-)advertising associations and city marketing associations in the city administration. However, expanding companies and/or start-ups also turn to the Economic Development Department in their search for suitable locations.

The goals of cluster promotion are:

  • Strengthening Bonn as a retail location in competition with the Internet and competing retail centers in the region.
  • Improving the flow of information in the "retail landscape".
  • Maintenance and expansion of existing networks.
  • Strengthening the cooperation between retail institutions.
  • Identification of future-relevant fields of action and initiation of corresponding projects.

Translated with (free version)

Mr. Arnulf Marquardt-Kuron