Almost every part of the property industry has been detrimentally affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Simon Creasey

Food and beverage operators have spent more days closed this year than open, retailers have shuttered stores after going under or entering into CVAs and administration and offices have lain empty during the biggest WFH experiment in history. Almost.

There is one sector that has not only kept going, but kept growing during the pandemic: the industrial and logistics sector. Indeed, demand for space is so strong that developers are struggling to keep up, and the sector now faces the threat of a severe space shortage. Demand for space is not just growing in the industrial and logistics heartlands. With more people working and shopping online from the comfort of their own homes, the need for logistics centres in rural locations to satisfy last-mile delivery has also grown sharply.

Online retailers and third-party logistics companies are also rushing to secure space in urban areas to fulfil the rapid growth of online orders. These operators are looking to utilise redundant bricks-and-mortar retail such as out-of-town shopping parks to satisfy this demand. Demand for data centre space is also rising as homeworking places greater strain on the nation’s network of data centres.

The good news is that these are not temporary requirements. They are set to fuel take-up into 2021 and beyond. The big question is: will the sector be able to deliver the supply required to meet all the demand? Watch this space.

Simon Creasey is Property Week’s contributing editor (features)