EN | FR
Shop vacancies fall across the UK for the first time this year
27 Nov, 2009, UK
The number of shops available in the UK’s prime retail areas has fallen for the first time this year according to property adviser Cushman & Wakefield’s new Retail Availability report. 10.3% of shops are now available across the UK, a decline of 2.3% in the three months to 1st November. 1.8% of all available shops are as a result of retailer administrations.
Although Central London has one of the lowest levels of availability at 8.3%, outer London has the highest at 16.6% with towns such as Watford and Bromley having the highest number of available units. Elsewhere in the UK, East England has the lowest overall vacancy rate at 6.5% (a decrease of 2.4% in three months). After outer London, South West & Wales and the Midlands have the highest levels of availability at 12.5% and 10.4% respectively. Scotland has seen the greatest change in the three months with 5.7% less shops available in November than in August.
Cushman & Wakefield believes that the number of retail companies going into administration has slowed although there are still less well publicised failures among independent and small retailers. Landlords have also been more receptive to retailers which have sought to restructure their finances through monthly rent payments and rent reductions recognising the need to negate voids within their portfolios and the prospect of empty property rates.
John Strachan, head of retail services, Cushman & Wakefield, said: “This fall in availability looks like an early Christmas present for the retail sector and shows that many landlords across the UK are managing to fill their voids, many of which were directly as a result of retailers falling into administration. We should caution, however, that many shops are let on a temporary Christmas basis so we will need to wait until the next survey to gauge to what extent these lettings have affected the figures. The run-up period to Christmas is the most crucial for the retail sector. Monthly retail sales are already increasing year on year so we are reasonably confident that retail availability will fall further in 2010.”
Peter Mace, head of central London retail, Cushman & Wakefield: "The trading performance of the West End remains relatively buoyant due primarily to the high level of tourists that continue to visit London to capitalise on the weak pound. As a result, availability in the prime London thoroughfares of Oxford Street, Regent Street and New Bond Street remains extremely low (circa 1%). By contrast, both the City and the western fringes of London (Kensington High Street/Brompton Road/King's Road) have not faired so well although there are signs that the market in these areas is beginning to improve with a steady take up of surplus stock."
Matt Illingworth, head of retail North West, Cushman & Wakefield: “The market across the North remains fragile but take up during the last three months is typical of this time of year. Shorter term leases with flexibility are being agree with some exceptions on prime high street and shopping centre locations. Rental levels are, however, still behind their peak levels. Retail void levels may increase again in early 2010 depending on short term agreements ending or companies unsuccessfully trading through December but we will have to wait for the true picture on the street.”