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Colliers Midsummer Review shows West Retail Centres bucking UK trend

retail trends

Retail centres in the South West are continuing to defy national trends with strong performance across the board according to figures in Colliers International’s Midsummer Retail Review.

Colliers’ wide-ranging review of commercial property surveyed a total of 365 towns across the country and shows retail performance in the region drawing ahead of the national average. More than 90 per cent of the towns surveyed in the South West were reported as stable, thriving or improving, with less than ten per cent reported as degenerating or failing.

More than 35 business chiefs from across the region attended a special briefing at Colliers International’s Bristol office to hear sector experts   highlight  the growing  division between strongly performing towns and cities such as Brighton, Stratford-upon-Avon and Harrogate and ‘failing’ locations such as Bootle, Dunstable, Northampton and Ramsgate.

The report revealed that around a quarter of main high street locations were failing, while the top performing retail centres continued to pull away.

Tim Davies said: “The good news for the South West is that   around half of our towns have reported  stable performance with a further 39 per cent thriving and six of our surveyed towns improving. On the other hand just six towns in the South West were degenerating and three more failing.”

The Midsummer Retail Report was released in a week which saw retail giants Thorntons  announce plans to exit 180 company owned shops - almost half its UK chain.   Hours after Thorntons' announcement, Jane Norman confirmed 35 of its 94 stores will close.  TJ Hughes is on the brink of administration  while Moben and Kitchens Direct owner Homeform could axe 3,000.  And Habitat collapsed last week, putting 700 jobs at risk.

The report makes stark reading for businesses trying to operate in any of the 125 towns identified as degenerating or failing, where the spread of empty shops or charity shops has triggered a downward spiral on high streets.

Colliers forecasters said the failing towns will struggle to attract finance for growth and increasing numbers of  pound stores, bookies, fast-food chains and charity shops would drive  shoppers   to the out of town shopping centres and supermarkets, which continued to out perform other commercial sectors.

Colliers research expert Richard Doidge said the threat to ‘failing’ towns could present commercial property investors with a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to buy into the threatened sector.

The report said   London remained a brightspot along with supermarkets in general, with many food stores  in ‘rude health’. Convenience food remained the most competitive sector but did not always help struggling town centres, many of which had been pedestriansed once again driving shoppers to the out of town shopping centres.

According to Colliers’,  real rents were down more than 5 per cent  with a further 1.1 per cent nominal fall in 2011  before rents stabilise in 2012 and return to growth in 2013.  The average prime retail rent now stands at £111 per square foot – 13.5 per cent lower than the peak of £128 per sq ft recorded in 2008 and a return to levels last seen in 2003.

Posted by The Editor (wantspacegotspace) on 14th July 2011 (updated 09/04/2013)

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