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Digital disruption to continue
Published:  29 January, 2015

Half of shopping centre space could be converted to leisure, finds Strutt & Parker survey

A survey of property experts by Strutt & Parker has found that the retail property sector can expect more radical change,

The prediction that garnered the most support from respondents (79 per cent were in agreement) was Strutt & Parker’s suggestion that, in the largest shopping centres, 50 per cent of the space will be comprised of leisure and food & beverage operators. Shopping centres will need to consider every food and leisure option as they seek to keep increasingly virtual consumers away from their laptop, and retain footfall.

Retail parks will also adapt to the internet, and according to the research their large unit sizes and good car-parking give them the flexibility to respond to online shopping. In the next decade, these units could become 24 hour operations providing a physical retail environment in peak shopping hours and serving local online shopping from the shop floor in quieter periods. 54% of respondents agreed that retail parks were well placed to compete as click and collect hubs, as long as they had a strong catchment or sat on a key commuter route.

Stephanie McMahon, head of research at Strutt & Parker, said: “Where sectors of the UK economy have begun to undergo fundamental structural change, property has often proved a significant drag factor. However, change is in the air and the way we work is shifting dramatically. As a result, property investors are facing a future where shifting business trends will transmit far more quickly into occupational markets and hence investment outcomes.

“Many of our future trends are likely to be incremental, with property continuing to perform as an asset class with the attributes to resist change in the short term. Nonetheless, we believe that investors will need to be increasingly conscious that property now finds itself in a position where shifting trends in the wider economy are likely to impact in a more timely fashion than they have previously.”