I’m pleased the October Budget made some attempt to rescue the high street. The most useful part of the Plan for Our High Streets is the recognition that structural changes are afoot.
I hope we can move the story to how we ‘reposition’ rather than ‘save’ our high streets. We can get there by facing up to the real challenges, through planning reform, investment and good leadership. If this can be achieved, retailers and their landlords will be in a much happier place.
I think uncertainty regarding Brexit will wear off during the year. Businesses, including real estate investors and occupiers, are likely to respond by making decisions they had been putting off until the political picture was clearer. I think we can expect a ‘Brexit bounce’ in GDP growth once uncertainty has subsided, supporting occupier demand.
Resolution: To prioritise wellness. From January, I’ll be pounding the stairs in place of the lift. I will try walking meetings with colleagues and clients – if only to the coffee shop. I’ll also leave my comfort zone and take on an adrenaline-fuelled personal challenge for charity. Watch this space.
Ciaran Bird, UK managing director at CBRE
2019 forecasts: what lies ahead
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2019 forecast: Ciaran Bird (CBRE)