Recently there has been a large increase in the number of retailers taking up out-of-town space. Although this does not come close to the 2007 figures it is perhaps an indication of greater confidence in the market and this trend is expected to continue throughout 2012.
The non-food sector appears to be leading the way in out-of-town commercial property acquisition with many leading retailers taking up space recently. These include Next, M&S, B&M, Hobbycraft and Nike. Even low cost retailers such as Poundland and Family Bargains are following the trend.
Many will see this as a further blow to the high street and evidence that the government should have accepted the Portas Review recommendation which would have restricted further out-of-town development.
Recently a proposed development in Northamptonshire came under fire with opponents warning it could cause “irreparable damage to other town centres.” There are also fears that far from creating employment the Rushden Lakes retail park could add to unemployment in the area.
Objecting to the application a council spokesperson warned; “The development could result in job losses of a scale which cancels out the 1,500 jobs created.”
Responding to the criticism a spokesperson for developers LXB said; “We have maintained all along that this proposal’s aim is to recapture the 68% of local people who do their shopping outside the area.” The plans will now be discussed by East Northamptonshire council.
Retail analysts point to more flexible lease terms as a driving factor in the expansion of out-of-town retail parks. They also expect the market to remain relatively stable into 2013 adding to the flight from the high street.
H&M Sales Rise 12 Per Cent in 2012