Whilst the high street struggles out-of-town locations continue to prove popular with retailers, with vacancies dropping again last year according to a new report.
The retail warehouse vacancy rate has fallen to 9.2 per cent, 20 per cent down on last year’s figure and the second consecutive year to see a decline.
Market analysts Trevor Wood Associates’ ‘The Definitive Guide to Retail & Leisure Parks 2011’ found that although a number of retailers either cut back on stores or fell into administration during the last year, demand for space out of town has still remained high.
JJB Sports, Focus DIY and Land of Leather have all abandoned outlets but firms such as Argos and Dunelm have been taking their place, there has been an increase in temporary leases to companies like Clearance and supermarkets have been converting empty retail warehouses.
B&M saw the largest growth in out of town locations last year, increasing its space in these locations by a huge 30 per cent year-on-year, whilst Argos, Carpetright, Currys, Halfords and Pets at Home are each present on more than 200 schemes.
Trevor Wood, Senior Partner at Trevor Wood Associates, said: “The overall benefits of accessibility, parking, rents and footfall means that despite the administrations and disposals by many retailers considerably increasing the amount of space available.
“The demand from dynamic retailers means vacancy levels have dropped for the second year running.”
Over 950 different tenants are present at all schemes; 350 occupy only one unit, the vast majority are in less than five, whilst only 165 take up ten or more.
Research shows that the total retail warehouse market grew to 173.8 million sq ft in 2010 from 172.5 million sq ft in 2009 but as demand has risen again this year the entry level rent at the top 100 sites has grown from £32.50 to £34.70 per sq ft.