The seaside town has taken the number-one spot in a top 10 list collated by comparing 569 markets (excluding Greater London) on the basis of their current OOT retail provision relative to the size of their shopper populations.
The research shows that Brighton would need an additional 587,000 sq ft of OOT retail space to bring it in line with the national average of 2.96 sq ft per person, meaning it could support a 330% increase to its current offer. Liverpool is second in the ranking, with capacity for 407,000 sq ft of extra OOT space, equating to an 18% uplift.
While smaller towns have less potential for new space volume wise, they still have the capacity to significantly increase the density of their offers. Witney and Hastings, for instance, have the scope to increase their OOT space by 319% and 289% respectively before reaching the national average.
There is room for further growth in the OOT sector, says Dominic Rodbourne, head of OOT retail at Savills: “While the development of new parks is far less than 10 to 15 years ago, there is still scope for landlords to develop new parks and capitalise on this format, which is ever more popular with both occupiers and consumers.”
A number of developers are already tapping the potential of the top markets, the research shows, citing The Derwent Group, which has started work on a £100m redevelopment of Edge Lane Retail Park into Liverpool Shopping Park(pictured).
The case for further development is reinforced by the robust outlook for OOT retailers, it adds, forecasting a 3.9% uplift in the sales of the type of goods sold on retail parks over the next five years.
“The second half of last year saw a significant number of new OOT entrants, including Fabb Sofas and Natuzzi, as well as others considering their first stores, such as Silentnight,” says Rodbourne.
“Other existing value and bulky goods players also remained expansionary. Consumer confidence appears to have weathered the political uncertainty of 2016 well.”