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UK shopping centre pipeline running dry

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Westfield Stratford City aside, the UK shopping centre pipeline for 2011 is at one of the lowest levels on record, according to a new report published today.

Discounting the 1.6 million sq ft site in east London, due to open on September 13th, there will be just 800,000 sq ft of new shopping centre space added to the retail landscape over the course of the year.

Commercial real estate group Colliers International, which printed the findings in its Midsummer Retail Report 2011, said that over the next two years there will be the lowest level of centre completions for 50 years.

Head of Retail Development at Colliers Greg Styles said that given the recent economic turmoil this slowdown is unsurprising, but he suggested that previous recessions have not had such a major impact on shopping centre development.

“In many locations across the UK we are now nearing saturation point in terms of comparison between available consumer expenditure and retail floor space,” he explained.

“Indeed that has been the case in many locations for some years, but the property market’s drive to create new space is an oil tanker that has taken some time to stop.

“On this occasion the economic cataclysm that started with the banks failing was the iceberg that brought it to an eventual standstill.”

Trinity Walk in Wakefield, which opened earlier this year, and the soon-to-be-unveiled Parkway in Newbury are the two major developments accompanying Westfield Stratford City on to the UK retail scene in 2011.

This comes after around 2.8 million sq ft of shopping centre space was added in 2009 and 2.5 million sq ft opened in 2010, huge reductions on the 8.1 million sq ft figure reported in 2008.

It will be sometime before the UK sees anything like the shopping centre development experienced before the country plunged into recession, and in the next two years the only substantial site scheduled to open is Land Securities’ Trinity Leeds.

Indeed, Yorkshire – along with Nottinghamshire - has been identified as an area that will kick-start retail property construction in the years ahead, but at this moment there have been few firm construction commitments from the major industry players.

“Developer predictions would have us believe that 2015 and beyond will see a return to the multimillion sq ft completion levels we have seen over the last decade,” Styles added.

“There is no doubt that the first half of 2011 has seen a ground swell of noise from developers about the schemes they are dusting off and taking forward into brave new post recession era.”

Published on Monday 04 July by Editorial Assistant

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