I don't buy a figure as low as £490 million. I think St David's pulls in about £400 million a year. Add in the other stores, and you've got to be more like £650 - 700 million.
Yeah, it does seem low but I imagine it's the same case for the other cities, I guess?
Though thinking about it, the retail scene away from the Hayes and the newer part of St Davids, is not entirely a picture of good health. Granted it's hardly a disaster, but the older malls such as the Capitol Centre or Queens Arcade have definitely seen a fall from grace over the past decade, and there does seem to be a higher frequency of empty stores, or at least shops which seem to have businesses that don't seem to last very long.
Thankfully the arcades seem to have weathered things a bit better, though given the type of niche establishments that are there, I don't suppose they'll proportionally contribute much to any expenditure figures?
But seeing as we don't know what criteria they have used, as you said, it's a case of a pinch of salt
I'd put Cardiff about 11th in the list (ahead of Southampton, Cambridge, Reading, Kingston, Leicester and probably Bristol). The methods for calculating these ranks are always pretty dodge... and I'd take this one with the same pinch of salt as the Experian report that had us in 6th, above Liverpool, Edinburgh, Leeds and Nottingham.
Cardiff is ranked a 5th for retail centres for strongest market potential but doesn't appear to be in the top 10 for actual retail spend. I suppose that's half good then, on the plus side there's recognition that cardiff has strong potential, and will hopefully prove attractive to retailers thinking in the long term. The bad side I suppose, is that the current economic climate means that retailers will be thinking about the immediate short-term and are more likely to set up shop in the 'big leagues' than here.