Watch: The landscape of out-of-town retail

17th November 2022 | Phoebe Dobke

Despite the retail industry being hit with a variety of challenges, the out-of-town sector has remained largely resilient, with vacancy rates 40% lower (at the height of the pandemic) than town centre shopping mall counterparts, according to the latest LDC report.

We sat down with Georgie Brooks, Matt McCue, Matthew Reed and Miles Marten at Completely Retail Marketplace 2022 to discuss how the out-of-town sector achieved this, and what plans are being made to build on this strength.

Georgie Brooks, director at Curson Sowerby Partners said that budget and discount retailers are largely protected in harder times: “They performed well during covid (although) they do have their own economic concerns; wage rises, rate rises, higher energy costs but they protected themselves with cap reviews, and they ought to benefit from the trickle down with consumers switching from mid-market brands to discount brands.”

Although the sector has fared well, landlords aren’t complacent, and are still watching out for changes in consumption. Matt McCue, director at Savills highlighted that big ticket items such as furniture and kitchen stores may be more vulnerable.

“We’re very well placed, we’ve seen lot of administrations over the last three or four years and that space has been filled largely with discount retailers. But with the cost of living crisis we’ve also got to keep an eye on other sectors of the market.”

“It’s not a case of discounters seeing us through, I think we’ve still got to be on the lookout.”

Georgie continued to suggest that mixed-use spaces may be a longer term solution: “We see the blend of uses in retail parks becoming wider, the introduction of drive-thru’s, different types of lettings; more gyms, more leisure lettings. We’ve recently been dealing with some tenants who want to let mezzanine space to offices.”


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