Property News Colliers London City

Retail Health Check

The ninth publication in the Colliers International Central London Retail Health Check series, which provides an overview of the current state of the retail market has shown that there are now 10% fewer shops fronting Central London streets than five years ago.

The report showed that:

  • The number of retail outlets fronting Central London streets has fallen by more than 10% in five years as stock is temporarily removed from the market for redevelopment and landlords/developers amalgamate units to create larger floorplates to meet the needs of retailers.
  • Central London’s retail vacancy rate has edged upwards for the first time in almost three years, although it remains well below that of the UK
  • At January 2012, 2.9% of units across the sample of 10 Central London streets were empty, up from 1.9% in July 2011.
  • In terms of floorspace, vacancy has risen to 1.3%, a marginal increase on the 0.9% at July 2011.
  • Retail vacancy in the West End is a little lower than for Central London as a whole, indicative of its role as the primary retail destination in the capital.

With the average size of vacant units in Central London declining by 45% since 2007, it is clearly the smallest units that are coming onto the market or remaining empty.

Dr Richard Doidge, Director, Research & Forecasting at Colliers International commented: “Whilst the vacancy rate for Central London has edged up in recent months, a more in-depth analysis reveals this is due primarily to voids rising in just two locations – the King’s Road and the east side of Oxford Street rather than an across the board deterioration.

“As such, there is no real cause for concern and in any event, I expect footfall and sales to pick up this summer as a result of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the Olympics drawing in visitors from all over the world.

“It is therefore likely that the vacancy rate will fall back again when Colliers International carries out its next survey in July.”

“An important finding from our five years of research is that there are now 10% fewer shop units fronting Central London streets than five years ago. We have noticed that retailers are preferring to take bigger units, and as properties become amalgamated to form these units to meet demand, the number of individual shop fronts has reduced.”

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