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Wells lights up flatlining retail sector

wantspacegotspace.co.uk - Wells lights up flatlining retail sectorWells continues to outperform the best of the west’s shopping centres according to the latest retail report from Colliers International.

Business chiefs from across the West were told continuing demand for space in the town’s popular High Street was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise flatlining retail sector.

Valuation expert Abby Pugh, who organised the latest in a series of Business Breakfasts at Colliers International’s Bristol HQ on Thursday, said rising rental returns from the city had spiked to an astonishing 45.5 per cent.

The only comparable brightspots across the South West were Bath and Cirencester.
Abby Pugh said: “It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why we are seeing such a remarkable increase in the town’s Zone A rental performance.

“There are several contributing factors, including the wealthy catchment population and  vibrant tourism, but neither of these could be described as recent developments.

“Wells has a fairly tight city centre with limited availability but the recession has led to increased turnover of units which in turn lets in a raft of new retailers, all of whom are in competition with each other for the available shops.”

She continued: “Wells   town centre acts as a popular tourist destination and is clearly a niche market. Unlike many of the region’s High Streets people are actually using Wells town centre and we are seeing demand from locally based tenants as well as the major chains.”

Business leaders attending Thursday’s breakfast briefing were given an overview of retail, industrial, offices and investment performance  from Colliers International sector analysts including head of retail Nick Turk, who said the feelgood factor following the Olympics and Diamond Jubilee during the summer had failed to spark the anticipated  revival in UK High Streets.

He said: “There have been mixed messages from the South West not least the spike we saw in Wells. Larger towns, shopping centres and retail parks with limited local competition are doing OK but many of our High Streets are continuing to suffer.

“The gap between  prime  and secondary locations is continuing to widen. There are some town centres which will require a great deal more than £100,000 from the Mary Portas fund to restore their fortunes.” 

Nick Turk recognised  retailers needed a multi-channel offering but said there was still hope for the traditional shopping experience.

“People still like touching and feeling  goods and that means shops will continue to have a leading role  to play in the retail market.”

Posted by The Editor (wantspacegotspace) on 23rd October 2012

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