Record amount of new shopping centre space opens in the UK
7 Nov, 2008, London
New shopping centres equivalent in size to more than six Bluewaters will have opened in the UK by the end of 2008. The annual figure of 945,000 sq m is, according to real estate adviser Cushman & Wakefield in its new UK Shopping Centre Development report, the highest since its records began in 1965 with the opening of the country’s first shopping centre in Elephant & Castle, London.
The report is released this week to coincide with the British Council of Shopping Centres’ (BCSC) annual conference in Liverpool. The total figure for 2008 includes 560,000 sq m of new space and 385,000 sq m in the form of extensions and redevelopment. Westfield London and Liverpool One are the two largest shopping centres to have opened in 2008 at 150,000 sq m and 151,431 sq m respectively. Both are now among the five largest shopping centres in the UK but are dwarfed by the MetroCentre in Gateshead which, at 190,447 sq m, is the country’s largest. Earlier this year major schemes also opened in Bristol with the 93,000 sq m Cabot Circus, and in Leicester with the 62,000 sq m Highcross scheme.
There is currently 1.2 million sq m of new shopping space either under construction and due to open within the next 18 months or which has opened since July. The last shopping centre opening peaks were in the late 1980s/early 1990s and in the mid-1970s. The difference this time, however, is that the majority of schemes are in-town regeneration schemes rather than out-of-town schemes in the mould of Bluewater, Kent which was the last such major scheme of its type in the UK. Liverpool One, for example, is an open streetscape scheme integrated into the historic city centre which represents over £900m of largely private investment into the region. Similar but smaller scale schemes have also opened in the centres of cities such as Exeter and Canterbury.
If the liquidity crisis continues development levels are likely to drop sharply after 2009 as schemes are postponed due to financial or funding issues.
Justin Taylor, head of shopping centre leasing, Cushman & Wakefield, said: “Whilst new space will continue to be delivered over the next 12-18 months, these will be schemes which have already secured funding and of which construction has begun. Beyond this, the pace of development is expected to slow, primarily because of funding issues, although the state of the wider economy is also likely to feature more prominently in developers decision-making.
“The strength of retailer demand is demonstrated by the successful letting of major centres such as Liverpool One and Westfield London. Retailers are thinking longer term and although the confidence of some has been knocked by the impact of the liquidity crisis on consumer spending, these large new shopping centres represent important strategic locations where they can expect to operate profitable stores.”
Alistair Parker, head of regeneration & development, Cushman & Wakefield, said: “This level of new town and city centre shopping centre openings reflects both the favourable financial market when these schemes were in gestation and – more importantly – a structural shift in both government policy and consumer demand. This year’s major schemes are regenerative and have been the catalyst for huge private sector investment in what were often rundown inner city areas.”
Top 5 Largest Shopping Centres in the UK at November 2008
Source: Cushman & Wakefield
Despite the increase in space, the UK still lags behind a number of European countries in terms of space per head of population. The UK has 251 sq m of gross lettable area per 1000 population. Although this is higher than the EU-27 average of 201 sq m, it is some way behind Norway at the top of the ranking with 636 sq m. Sweden, the Netherlands, Ireland and Denmark also have a higher provision than the UK although major western European countries including France, Germany and Italy have less space (detailed figures contained within Cushman & Wakefield’s European Shopping Centre Development report released October 2008.)
For further information, please contact:
Chris Bond, UK Media Relations Manager
Cushman & Wakefield
Tel: + 44 (0)20 7152 5006 / +44 (0)7793 808 006
Visit Cushman & Wakefield’s Knowledge Center at www.cushmanwakefield.com to access other reports on leading real estate issues, trends and market statistics from around the world.
Notes to Editors:
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