Deep Dive 17 minutes Premium

Deep Dive: UK Retail Real Estate—Taking Stock of Trends in Brick-and-Mortar

Executive Summary

  • The UK retail real estate sector is facing ongoing headwinds, including the rapid rise of e-commerce, cutthroat competition and softening apparel sales.
  • However, the UK has seen few retail bankruptcies and store closures. Store footfall in the country is declining, but vacancy rates remain low and rent levels indicate that the retail real estate sector is still relatively healthy.
  • Retailer landlords continue to add leisure offerings in retail formats, as a strong hospitality/entertainment offering is a meaningful driver of footfall and dwell times.
  • E-commerce will continue to have an effect on the widening gap in rental growth between prime and secondary locations. Many retailers will choose to have smaller store footprints and focus on larger flagship stores in the most desirable areas and spaces.
  • Rising UK property taxes in certain locations will act as a disincentive to operating physical stores versus online stores. New retail space resulting from shopping-center store openings and revamps will reach a four-year high in 2017, posing a risk of excess supply in the face of waning demand.

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