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Out-of-town outperforms
Published:  05 April, 2017

Trevor Wood research highlights a resilient retail and leisure park market

Trevor Wood Associates’ Definitive Guide to Retail and Leisure Parks 2017 suggests the sector is faring well despite economic uncertainty with continued market growth, falling vacancy rates and appetite among key occupiers for well-located second-hand units.

The 2017 guide shows that despite economic pressures, the total retail warehouse market enjoyed marginal growth in 2016, reaching 187.34 million sq ft. The retail warehousing vacancy rate fell to 5.3 per cent, then lowest since records began at the end of 2001.

Despite the closure of brands like Bhs and Netto, the research highlights a strong pool of expanding retailers keen to take second hand space. Last year, more than 5 million sq ft of floorspace was taken by retail park tenants, with 39 of the top 50 non-food tenants increasing their retail park presence. Expanding retailers include the likes of B & M, The Range, Poundland and Home Bargains. This balance of supply and demand has meant rental levels have remained relatively stable.

Middlebrook retail & leisure park in Bolton remains the largest park at 646,661 sq ft. The top retail warehouse cluster is Westwood Road in Broadstairs, with a gross area of 1,120,538 sq ft , whil the O2 Entertainment District in Greenwich is the biggest leisure scheme at 600,000 sq ft gross.

For the twelfth consecutive year, the guide named British Land the leading investment manager and the leading direct property owner in the sector. Wilkinson Williams was ranked the leading retail warehousing letting agent for the seventh year running, whilst Savills maintained its status as the leading retail warehousing managing agent, with more than 23 million sq ft of instructions.

Trevor Wood said: “This analysis shows that the market has remained buoyant over the past year and things look set to improve still further in the coming months, particularly when you consider we have featured 113 schemes thought likely to proceed before 2023 in our development pipeline. This pipeline is greater than at any time since our 2008 review.”