2023-09-21T15:51:00Z By Jamie Bennett-Ness
2023-09-21T13:31:00Z By Jamie Bennett-Ness
One of the effects of the pandemic was that the public became more familiar with the retailing ‘on our doorstep’. The shopping that millions of us might have done in the places we worked was now being done close to where we lived. The trend was most marked across the commuter towns around major UK cities and has continued as hybrid working practices mean that for many of us 40% or more of our working week is now at home.
As a consequence of this changed landscape of spending, retail brands that were once exclusively in London and other major UK cities are now establishing a presence in other locations that are attractive because of increased localised spend. Recent examples include L’Occitane, Ollie Quinn, Joe & The Juice and Anthropologie, which have all opened in St Albans. Townhouse Nails, Ole & Steen and Tag Heuer have new stores in Guildford, while Planet Organic and Mixing Jug have taken units in Henley and upmarket paint retailer Little Green is looking at selected regional locations.
The knock-on effect of this is that other retailers want to cluster around these premium brands and, therefore, there is a general improvement in the vitality of the shopping offer.
The trend is helping to improve the gradual absorption of retail space across the country. Recent research from The Local Data Company and PwC shows that across the UK store closures are now running, on average, at 32 per day, while 22 new outlets are opening daily. This is the slowest rate of store closures since 2014 and the net closures of stores is also at its lowest level for five years.
UK store closures are now running, on average, at 32 per day, while 22 new outlets are opening daily. This is the slowest rate of store closures since 2014 and the net closures of stores is also at its lowest level for five years.
Emergent independent retail brands can also benefit from this brand migration. Tracking the evolution of more than 1,000 independents, there is an increased trend for them to look to the regions once they have established a track record in London.
Agents must now make sure their understanding of retail pitches reaches across the UK to encompass both major cities and the type of satellite locations that are now benefiting from the changed way in which we work and shop. This is a trend that offers opportunities to brands to increase their UK footprint of profitable stores and is being welcomed by landlords who are now seeing a new profile of demand across shopping centres and high streets.
Victoria Broadhead is a director at Bruce Gillingham Pollard